You may think that you feel more miserable as you grow older. Your looks may fade, your health may deteriorate and your quality of life may go down. But nothing seems further from the truth. Research has shown that older people are actually happier. The turning point seems to occur at the age of 46. People in their 20s tend to have a happiness score of about 6.8. After that it declines and it will reach their lowest point at age 46. But from that age onwards happiness steadily increases leading to a happiness score of about 7 at age 80. This phenomenon is also known as the U-bend.
Why are older people happier?
The research concluded that there are 4 main factors of happiness:
- Gender (women tend to be happier than men)
- Personality (being an extrovert helps you being happier)
- External circumstances (surprisingly enough people with children in the house tend to be less happier)
If we just concentrate on age factor, the study concludes that older people are happier because of internal changes.
The happiness factors
Here are just some of the factors that contribute to older people being happier:
- Older people tend to be more emotionally intelligent and are better at controlling their emotions and argue less.
- They are better at living in the present moment and focus on things that matter now.
- They are more accepting of their strengths and weaknesses.
- They learn to accept aging and see that as a source of relief.
The benefits of growing happiness in older age
The fact that older people tend to be happier has tremendous benefits:
- Happier people make other people happy.
- Happier people tend to be healthier. The more happy you feel the less prone to illness you will be.
- Happier people tend to be more productive.
So what does this all mean to you?
Although this all sounds great it is still important to note that people between 40-55 are the unhappiest of them all. So why not practise the skills of older people at this age?
Try to live more in the present and accept yourself as you are and actively work on your confidence. My free training will help with that.
By all means improve yourself or your looks, but don’t let it become an obsession.
In the end, happiness is the most important thing to achieve and that in itself will keep you younger!
Tell me, what do you think of this research? Have you got happier as you turned older?
Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.
You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!
thank goodness,i’m on the upswing!
I do recognize that shift. For me it came at 48. A kind of self confidence based on life’s experiences and “I know I can handle it” started to emerge. And with that some new mottos, this being one of them: So far I’ve survived it all, I can handle this too.
Today I feel and look fantastic at 53 because I took some measures to do so. We are responsible for our lives and can all do the best with what we have. It comes from both in and outside as far as I’m concerned. I take it from a holistic perspective. 🙂
Thanks for your feedback Stella!
I totally agree. At 58 I am happier than I ever was and I think my body looks nicer than it ever did. OK I have wrinkles and my skin has lost its elasticity and yes I had work done to it. Still, never dreamt I would ever be so content.
As far as the agegroup 40-55 is concerned: 1) they might have children in puberty still living at home, struggling to find their own way and “fighting” with their parents. Which happens a lot. The hormons of adolescents make a mess of their feelings and they have to tear themselves away from home because that is what nature demands. These things might cause a lot of stress in a household. And after they have left home, the parents have the empty nest syndrome. Not every parent experiences this, but a lot do.
Yes that may be a good theory and I still have to go through that phase. My son is still very sweet now 🙂 Let’s hope the hormones can be kept under control….
When I was 49 I was a single working mum, with the intention to work till 65, have my pension and enjoy my life by travelling a lot. When I was young I was a guide in Spain and I also was a flight attendant, so travelling is what I like. It all changed in my fifties because of my illness I ended up in a wheelchair. It changed my life completely, because I was spending my days indoors. I am a people person, I need to communicate and laugh, and you can not do that on your own. Because happiness isn’t something you get automaticly, in comes from within yourself. I go twice a week to a daycarecenter where I do fitness and paint and other creative activities. Every morning a nurse comes to help me, so another personal contact. I can say that I am always in a good mood. I do appreciate the smaller things in life that other people perhaps miss because they don’t have the time or the eye for it to enjoy. So I can honestly say that I am happy because I have the people and family around me I care for and I love.
And I can vouch for that. Marianne is a very happy person with a lot of humor. As Suzanne says… it reflects in her looks.
It must be so tough to have your dreams shattered and I truly admire you for still seeing the positive and enjoying your life so much.
I agree that gratefulness for one’s blessings is so important. I read that some people keep a gratefulness journal each day and this really helps to put everything into perspective. It’s easy to forget about all of the great things that we do have.
Physical activity is also very important. I’m trying to keep active with winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s essential to choose something that you really enjoy.
I am almost 60, and I believe that I am happier than I was in my 40’s and early 50’s. The challenge will be to continue my active lifestyle and not become complacent.
Sylvia, this is a very interesting article!
I did that for a while (gratefulness diary). Perhaps should do it again, because it does help. As for being active I missed tennis again this morning due to rain. Bummer.
Fascinating! I do think it has a lot to do with being able to count your blessings – to see what you do have as opposed to what you don’t have. But cheery people tend to do that regardless of their age or circumstances and unhappy people (those who constantly see the negative) tend to live their lives looking for the downside of every situation. A sense of humor really helps. I have experienced some big tragedies but being able to laugh again was the turning point. There is always something to be grateful for and to look forward to.
The thing about the children – I do not understand. Having kids in the home (your own or their friends) keeps you young and growing as a person. I am not saying that parenting is easy – because if it is you are not doing it right! But it can be the most rewarding job ever. 🙂 Plus, who teaches you how to use all of the new tech gadgets if you don’t have a child? LOL! And who keeps you current on the latest music and dances? And fashion? I mean street looks – not the runway.
Physically, you do need to work harder to maintain your health as you age but health is the key to happiness. It’s great to strive for beauty (from updated make-up to plastic surgery) but if you are not healthy it is harder to project youth and vitality. No matter what diseases befall us, if you eat nutritious foods, exercise and maintain a comfortable weight, stay flexible and mentally active, you will generally have a higher quality of life and I do think that reflects in your looks. Keep thinking life is an adventure and that there is something exciting around each corner – because there truly is!
You are truly the best person to deliver this message Suzanne. Noone says it better than you and your words and comments always lift me up and energise me! You last sentence says it all. So true!
Tonight – I am totally devastated. I ask anyone reading this to please light a candle, say a prayer, or hold a warm thought for the 20 families in Connecticut who sent their 5 and 6 year olds to school this morning only to have them taken from them in a most senseless, cruel, self-centered act of violence that defies understanding. I can not stop crying and my best friend, who is a kindergarten teacher, told me she is done. She is leaving the profession. This is truly a sad, sad day.
I know. It’s a sad, sad day…. My thoughts are with those families.
But I also hope you can persuade your friend to remain a teacher. They are so important…
This is a tough question. I’m mentally happier now but physically I was happier in my thirties and forties. If I could transplant a new body on my 52 yr old brain that would be perfect.
Yes, that is worrying me a bit as well. All these little aches and pains that are coming up…
This is really interesting research, and personally I have to say that in many ways I feel very content being in my early forties:)
Good to hear Nanne!