Aging is inevitable; the muscles they weaken, the hearing and the view they vanish, we wrinkle and we bend; we can no longer run or walk as fast as before; we have pains Y inconvenience in the parts of our body that we did not even notice before. Anyway, Age reaches us .
This might sound sad, but it is not. A huge survey of Gallup found that, in almost any measure, people are happier as they get older; the researchers are not sure why.
"There may be changes in the environment ", He said Arthur A. Stone , lead author of the study based on the survey, to which he added "it is also possible that there Psychological changes about the way we see the world. It could even be a biological phenomenon , for example brain chemistry or endocrine changes ".
A telephone survey , held in 2008, covered more than 340,000 people throughout the United States, between 18 and 85 years. The questions dealt with: the age and the sex , themes of present , finance personal, Health and other matters.
The survey also asked about "general well-being ", qualifying each level of global life satisfaction on a scale of 10 points , in which people did not do a random evaluation, but in a strictly formal way.
Finally, a question with 6 items to answer yes or do not: Did you have any of the following feelings a large part of the previous day ?:
The answers, the researchers say, reveal "hedonic well-being "Since the positive options were the most recurrent.
The results published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was good news for the elderly and for those who are aging. In the global measure, people start at 18 feeling very good about themselves, but as time passes, life seems to start throwing curved balls. its mood it goes from bad to worse until they reach 50 years old. At that moment, there is a sudden change and an upward curve begins to appear in the mood of the people as they get older. increasingly happy . When they reach the 85 years they are in a fullness Y satisfaction with themselves that exceeds, by far, what they felt at 18 years old.
To measure immediate well-being (the emotional state of the previous day) the researchers found that the decrease in tension from 22 years of age onwards, reaches its lowest point at 85 years. The worry remains fairly stable until 50, and then drops abruptly. Anger decreases constantly. Enjoyment and happiness have similar curves: both decrease gradually until at 50, the increase steadily over the next 25 years, and then decreases slightly at the end, but never reaches a point as low as at 50 years of age. age.
Other experts were impressed with this work. Andrew J. Oswald , professor of psychology of the Warwick Business School in England, who has published several studies on human happiness He described the findings as important and, in a way, hopeful. "It's a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in the sunset of our life , that when we were 20 years old, "he said." It's something very deep and very human that seems to be driving this. "
The Dr. Stone , who is a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said that the conclusions of the questions posed needed further study. "These results say that there are distinctive patterns here," he said, "and it's worth a research effort to try to figure out what's going on, why does the change start at 50?"
The study was not designed to find out what factors make the happy people , and the questions of the health survey were not specific enough to draw conclusions about the effect of the happiness in old age ; But the researchers look at four possibilities: the sex of the interviewee, if the person had a partner, if there are children in the state of origin and employment. "It's about 4 reasonable factors," said the Dr. Stone , "but there is not much difference."
For people under 50 who sometimes feel sad, there is a consolation here. Maybe the picture looks a bit bad now, but look at the positive side: You are getting old!