25 Dec 2010

AGE and HAPPINESS

I read a most amazing article in the Economist a few days ago. Based on a research conducted by several institutions among which are America’s General Social Survey, Eurobarometer and Gallup, the conclusion is that the curve of happiness during a lifetime is an U-bend.
And that in advanced countries the nadir (eg the peak of unhappiness) is 46 years old.
How does this sound?
It seems that as people grow older they start appreciating things they didn't before and being less sensitive to other issues.
I quote:
"Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter".
Listen also to what Dr. Laura Carstensen, professor of psychology at Stanford University,says:
"Because the old know they are closer to death (...) they grow better at living for the present. They come to focus on things that matter now—such as feelings—and less on long-term goals. When young people look at older people, they think how terrifying it must be to be nearing the end of your life. But older people know what matters most.”

The whole article is worth reading anyway. Go to: http://www.economist.com/node/17722567?Story_ID=17722567

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