Happiness and Age

We all wish to be happy in life and will spend time and money in the pursuit of happiness. As we age the things that make us happy may change. When we are little we may enjoy playing with dolls and actin figures, and as we get older we may like going on water slides or watching scary movies. Recent studies from Journal of Consumer Research have tried to find what age has to do with how happy we are.

They looked at how much time the patients thought they had and how that affected how happy they were. They conducted 8 studies and asked patients to try to remember or imagine happy experiences to create a difference between times that were common and frequent or times that were uncommon. They predicted that younger people would combine uncommon experiences with greater happiness. In 1 of the studies the people were asked to remember an event that happened recently that they would consider uncommon and that made them happy. There were 200 people in this study with ages ranging between 18 and 79. The responses they gave were put in to 12 different categories. The categories were different things like travel and life milestones. The results pointed to the conclusion that older people found more happiness in the common things like morning coffee and daily Sudoku. However the young people found more happiness in the uncommon events like trips to Disneyworld or skydiving.

I think that the younger people are finding more happiness in more extravagant things because they are still looking to define themselves and who they are in this world. They want to do more dangerous and adventurous things like ride roller coasters and go to wild parties because they want to compile their fair share of great memories before they are older. Young people want to get out and go do extraordinary things while they are still young and have the energy to do so. Another factor to this is how our preferences change as we get older. Like I said earlier our interests shift and what we find interesting changes. As we age we may not like to do all the wild stuff we did and may settle into a simpler life that is more serene and calm. To some that may sound perfect, a cup of tea and a round of bingo. To others the thought of aging that way can be horrifying. That may be another factor to YOLO. We see how we will change and are frightened. In a mad rush to preserve our youth we go out and “live” while we still can. Chanting YOLO as an excuse to forget what is to come. We must savor what little time we have left and make the most out of every memory.

As a brief recap; researchers set out to find the link between happiness and age. They asked people ranging from age 18 to 79 to describe a recent happy event that does not commonly happen. They found that people of all ages found happiness in the uncommon events but the older age group found more happiness in the more common things.


This entry was written by Garrett R. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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