U.S. study: The older, the happier
|www.chinaview.cn 2008-04-21 10:06:29|
BEIJING, April 21 (Xinhuanet) — People usually think late life is far from the best stage of life, but a new research in April’s American Sociological Review said the happiest Americans are the oldest.
This eye-opening research was conducted by Yang Yang, a University of Chicago sociologist. "The good news is that with age comes happiness," Yang said: "Life gets better in one’s perception as one ages."
People in old age face a certain amount of inevitable distresses, including aches and pains and the deaths of loved ones and friends. But older people generally have learned to be more content with what they have than younger adults, Yang said.
"Partly because older people have learned to lower their expectations, and they accept their achievements," said Duke University aging expert Linda George: "it’s fine that I was a schoolteacher and not a Nobel Prize winner."
Yang’s findings are based on periodic face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of Americans from 1972 to 2004. About 28,000 people ages 18 to 88 took part.
There were ups and downs in overall happiness levels during the study, generally corresponding with good and bad economic times. But at every stage, older Americans are the happier ones.
In general, the odds of being happy increase 5 percent with every 10 years of age.
|Editor: Sun Yunlo|
This is fascinating research. In general I agree with the above conclusions posted in Cnina View. As a positive psychologist I believe that it takes practice to be contented with one’s life and to experience a sense of well-being that didn’t involve fame, fortune or a body without cellulite. Of course, there is a good chance that older people get more chances at practice,. Certainly they have been alive longer! What I find is that there comes a time in most people’s lives that they begin to relax into what the universe seems to have dished out to them. If they perceive this serving of life as basically a glass half full, they feel good about themselves and experience good feelings which are often interpreted as ‘happiness’. If they see their serving of life as lousy, they often see the glass as half empty and miss many pleasant opportunities. Here is where practice comes in.
I am older and I have intentionally been practicing being in the ‘now’ and seeing the glass as half full. I can tell you it is worth doing! The other day I went outside and not only hugged the tree on my front lawn but let it hug me with its two lowest branches. And then we rocked slightly in a very light wind. I can tell you it was pure pleasure. I could feel the energy of life in that tree. And I could feel the contentment build as we moved slowing together. It was an incredible few moments. And then I went inside, happy and content and loved at least for the moment by a tree.
Letting a tree hug me was intentional practice. Let me know what you practice to increase the experience of happiness! Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist and Happiness Coach, www.enchantedself.com