Happiness is an acquired perception

Happiness is an acquired perception

Happiness is an acquired perception

How happy are you in your life? Are you happier now than you were in earlier years? Do you expect to become happier later in life? What are the circumstances under which you assume your happiness will occur? Who or what is endowed with the power of enabling or preventing you from feeling happiness right now?

Recent research by Yang Yang, a University of Chicago sociologist, found older Americans are happier than their younger counterparts. Yang’s results were based on periodic face-to-face interviews with 28,000 people ages 18-88, spanning 32 years. He also found that most Americans reported being very happy or pretty happy, with less than one-fifth feeling not too happy in their lives. Though there were fluctuations in levels of happiness during economic changes, older Americans were the happiest at every stage.

Perhaps the most meaningful quote from Yang is, “Life gets better in one’s perception as one ages.” It highlights that it may not be the reality of the situation that actually improves, but the perceptions of the seniors enabled them to stay contented despite the challenges of older age. We may all be heartened by this notion that it is not necessarily the reality of one’s situation, but rather the view one chooses to adopt that determines one’s level of satisfaction and joy in life.

To read the remainder of this article on happiness from Offra Gerstein of the Santa Cruz Sentinel – click here