Happiness Really Does Increase After Fifty Says US Researchers

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Now we’ve all heard that life begins at forty, although I’m sure many people approaching their fortieth wouldn’t agree, that’s when a lot of folk seem to sink into a mid life crisis, however, now a study by psychologist Dr Arthur Stone from Stony Brook University in New York says that we get happier after the half a century landmark and that the findings are “striking”.

Ok so what has he discovered?

According to Dr Stone, we suffer from less stress, we worry less and we don’t get as angry after fifty as we do when we are younger, and this is despite the fact that the risk of disease and death increases as we get older.

“You would think as chronic illness threatens life would get worse but that is not the case because people don’t focus on the threats,” he said.

“They focus on the good things in life like family and friends.”

Dr Stone is taking his information from a survey of more than 340,000 people that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Respondents were asked to answer yes or no to whether they had experienced emotions such as joy, happiness, stress, worry, anger, and sadness the previous day.

In that survey the researchers found that whether we think positively or negatively about something, changes at different times of our lives, and that it is the same for both men and women and regardless of whether they have children or not, or what their occupational status is, or whether they are married or single, although women appear to worry more throughout their entire lives.

It seems that anger and stress is felt most before the twenties, after which it reduces somewhat, however, worry continues until mid life after which it starts to decline and happiness and joy starts to increase and continues to do so right up to the eighties.

The study adds weight to previous studies which found much and such the same thing, basically that we become wiser and our emotional intelligence increases at mid life.

Older people seem better able to control their emotions and view things in a more positive light than younger people.

According to the researchers, “they are also in accord with a ‘positivity effect’ wherein older people recall fewer negative memories than younger adults and with the possibility older adults are more effective at regulating their emotions than younger adults.”

So now you know.

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