In our youth-obsessed culture, you may be surprised to find that older people—not younger people—are actually happier. This was the conclusion of a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, which sought to determine the ways in which age affects happiness and overall mental health.
Not only were older people more satisfied with life overall, they were also less likely to be anxious, depressed, and/or stressed out. The best part? Happiness only continues to increase with age, with some of the oldest survey recipients reporting the highest levels of life satisfaction.
The researchers randomly called 1546 people ages 21 to 99 to gather their data. Time and time again, the older respondents, despite physical and cognitive decline, were more likely to have better mental health than the younger ones.
"Brain studies show that the amygdala in older people responds less to stressful or negative images than in a younger person," said senior author of the study Dr. Dilip V. Jeste. "We become wise. Peer pressure loses its sting. Better decision-making, more control of emotions, doing things that are not just for yourself, knowing oneself better, being more studious and yet more decisive [are all upsides of aging]. This is good news for young people, too. You have something to look forward to."
Does this new study change your outlook on growing older? Let us know, and shop Diane Keaton's best-selling book on aging gracefully.