06 Jul How to find joy: 4 secrets to living the good life
via the Ladders by Eric Barker
“Older and wiser.” You’re on board with that, right? Sure. But what if I said “older and more joyful?”
That probably doesn’t click in the same way. Physically, getting old sucks.
At ages eighty-five and up, one in three people say they have trouble hearing; 31 percent have trouble caring for themselves; half have trouble walking and living independently; and 28 percent say they have cognitive difficulty… Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other dementias-all increase dramatically by age seventy and accelerate with each additional year.
Youth is all smiles and hope; old age is aches and pains while you count down the days to the end, right?
They did a study at Stanford University tracking the emotions of a group of people ages 18-94. Guess what? Older people are happier.
Older people consistently reported just as many positive emotions as the younger participants, but had fewer negative ones. They also had more mixed emotions, meaning that they didn’t let frustration or anxiety keep them from saying they were happy. Consciously or unconsciously, they were making the choice to be happy even when there were reasons to feel otherwise… Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, the researchers found that the emotional processing center of older people’s brains, the amygdala, fired more actively when they looked at positive images than negative ones; younger brains reacted to both equally. In this, older brains resemble the brains of people who meditate.
Elderly people are happier than younger people?!? Huh? But their bodies are falling apart! Their best years are behind them! How is this possible?
A lot of what we think we know about aging is wrong. We have a lot to learn about getting older. And, more importantly, a lot to learn from older people. Remember: they’ve been your age — you haven’t been theirs.
Author John Leland looked at the research on aging and spent a year shadowing a group of older folks to see what he could learn. His lessons are in the wonderful new book: Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old.
As he explains: “Old age is the last thing we’ll ever do, and it might teach us about how to live now.”
So here are four things we can learn about happiness from our elders…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE