Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Good News for 50+
Are you 50 years old or older? There is some very good news from a recent Gallup poll on happiness. The survey showed that by almost any measure, people get happier as they grow older.
This survey is described in an article in today's New York Times by Nicholas Bakalar titled, "Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says." The Gallup poll took a huge sampling of more than 240,000 people ages 18-85. The overwhelming conclusion was that 85 year-olds are much happier than 18 year-olds.
What this study found is that happiness decreases and anxiety increases from age 18 to age 50. Age 50 seems to be a turning point because well-being increases from that age on.
What is the reason for the increasing happiness at age 50? Dr. Andrew Oswald, a professor of psychology said, "It's [increasing happiness] not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It's something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this."
I'm not surprised. As we age we, hopefully, grow in wisdom and experience. We learn to look inward for happiness and contentment. This looking inward is a spiritual process in which we become less dependent on external factors and more focused on connecting with the sacred dimension of life.
Still, it's nice to see a study confirming the relationship between aging and happiness. As the poet Robert Browning wrote, "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..."