Everywhere we look there is bad news about aging. There are also roughly a quadrillion, zillion anti-aging creams, vitamins, books and strategies to help you stop the aging process. Yet, there is only one way I know to definitively stop aging and it’s not an option I like. Bottom line: If you are lucky enough to live a bit longer, you’re gonna get older.
But there is good news about getting older too. Lots of it, actually.
While it’s true the body declines, seniors are actually among the happiest people on the planet and that’s not all.
3 Perks of Aging
1. Older people are happier people. In one study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that people in their 60s were also more empathetic (which contributes to good feelings) and better problem solvers.
Researchers in another study at Stony Brook University surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans and discovered that people over 50 tended to be happier and less stressed than people half their age. Other research indicates that older adults are also better able to regulate their emotions. They experienced fewer low lows, less anger, and sadness, and greater happiness.
2. Older people tend to focus on the things that feel good. All this happiness could be a matter of perspective and the older generation seems to have that figured out too. As we age, our perspective narrows so we are more apt to focus on the things that make us feel better or healthier instead of the things that stress us out, according to research led by Peggy St. Jacques. This allows us to reflect on the awesome things our children did, instead of the time they trashed the house during a wild party. We are more likely to appreciate the time shared with our loved one over a romantic dinner rather than get upset over the part where she nagged you to eat your vegetables.
3. Our elders really are wiser. Numerous studies show that the vast experience and insight earned from a longer life span contribute to smarter decisions. Older adults are better and evaluating the benefits of multiple options and better at “creating strategies in response to the environment,” says Darrell Worthy, of Texas A&M University, who led this study.
And there is a fourth benefit, of course, and this one is a biggie: If you are getting old it means you are still alive. That means you get one more day to smell a blooming Daphne or sip a strong cup of coffee, or watch a sunset. That is one of the many reasons I don’t mind getting older. I’ll share with you some of the others in Wednesday’s post.