Ageing and happiness

Ageing and happiness

For Seniors, Bad News Isn’t So Bad


OK, so a lot of stuff about getting older isn’t so great. Your joints are creaky, your back hurts, and those horn-rimmed bifocals aren’t exactly the height of fashion.

But you know what the good part is? The older you get, the less any of these little things will bother you. The big things, too – according to a new study, the more liver spots you have, the less sleep you’ll lose over all the atrocities of the day.

In the study, psychologists rounded up a group of participants ranging in age from 18 to 81, and hooked them up to electrodes that measured their brain’s responses to visual stimuli. As images ranging from adorable puppies to horrendous car wrecks flashed across a screen, the psychologists measured each participant’s reaction by tracking his brain wave activity.

For the younger members of the group, brain activity went into overdrive each time they saw a negative image. No surprise there – who do you think are the people buying tickets to all those blood-and-guts horror movies?

But among the stately elder members of the study group, even the most horrific images barely registered on the scale. When we reach a certain point in our lives, it seems, we learn how to let all the bad stuff slide off our shoulders, and just sit back and relax.

Sure, there are always exceptions (your mother-in-law, perhaps?), but for most of us, once we reach the golden years, it’s all good from there.