Although we may walk slower, lose our agility, experience aches and pains, and struggle remembering things, it is nice to know that we get happier with age (Stone, Schwartz, Broderick, & Dean, 2010). Developmental researchers commonly referred to this happiness trend as the “U-Shape of Happiness”.
Reportedly, from age 18 to 50, happiness trends downward. During young adulthood and our middle-aged years, entering the workforce, career aspirations and achievement. raising children, maintaining and fostering family relationships, elder caregiving, and civil and community commitments often create/exacerbate stress and other health conditions. We tend to worry more and experience a decline in life satisfaction during middle adulthood..
Interestingly, happiness trends upward from ages 50 to 85. Although worry persists, we become less troubled by stress and anger during our 50s. We have a deeper sense of ourselves, learned/know works and what no longer works, have proven ourselves and are respected in our jobs/profession, and have reached the apex in our professional lives. Life changes, priorities change, and those things that matter, or are emotionally meaningful, shift.
We get happier with age. From about age 75 to 90, happiness is higher than it ever was in youth. It is suggested that increased global well-being, life satisfaction, and increased positive emotions impact healthy living. With age, we become more flexible and our perceptions change. We become more mindful and willing to accept things. Older people tend to have an increased ability to self-regulate their emotions, tend to recall fewer negative memories, and view life situations positively. Research across the developmental lifespan suggest that many other healthy promoting behaviors (i.e., physical fitness and exercise) also help to decrease negative emotions (Bonura, K.B., 2016).
It is nice to know that we have the ability to embrace and accept change-- emotional and fitness matters as we age.