“People are generally happier as they approach 70.”
This is the latest statement that the Guardian has reported on. The comprehensive study of 3,000 participants has followed them since birth to establish that the feeling of well being increases in the seventh decade of your life.
A series of questions were asked to those in their sixties and again a decade later and the studies show that those approaching their seventies have a spring in their step. The wellbeing test that the participants took part in consisted of fourteen different areas including optimism, confidence, cheerfulness and usefulness.
The results for those in their sixties were positive but when the questions were asked again to those just shy of seventy, there was an improvement in all fourteen categories. This came despite the fact that most of the group experienced at least one chronic disease such as arthritis or diabetes.
This contrasts with those that are middle aged, who are according to the office for national statistics, the least happy. They also have the highest level of anxiety and the lowest levels of life satisfaction. The same level of research discovered that those aged 65 – 79 had the highest levels of personal wellbeing and these levels reduce again as many move into even older age.
Dr Mai Stafford from the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London, stated: “What we’ve found is that, on average, levels of wellbeing increased during peoples sixties”.
The Medical Research Council survey for health and development recruited thousands of new-borns for the study in 1946 and one of the main aims was to look at how individuals change over time in order to evaluate experiences that either makes us happy or unhappy.
Further statistics revealed that one in five experienced a substantial increase in wellbeing during later life. However, a smaller group went through a significant decline. The statistics perhaps shock many that expect people to be happier when they are younger. possibly there could be a shift in momentum for society as people now live longer than ever before.
Possible reasons for why life is better approaching 70?
- Retirement! This could be one possible reason why many in their 70’s discover a new lease of life. Simply, many now have the freedom to do exactly what they want without any constraints.
- Children! It can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs to be a parent. However, one thing that many forget is that your children often become some of your best friends as you grow older. Children can return to the family home as individuals in their own right. Some may even be blessed with bringing home their children and your grandchildren!
- Confidence! Age often brings wisdom and confidence. This is because at this age many have experienced the world and draw from past experiences to make future decisions. You may have made a mistake but mistakes rarely happen twice.
- Greater Comfort! When you reach a certain age you start to become comfortable. Comfortable about who you are, comfortable about what you’re saying and hopefully comfortable financially.
- Thankfulness! When you’re younger, it almost feels like you’re invincible and that nothing can do harm. However, when reaching a certain age it feels as though everyday is a blessing. Becoming grateful becomes a daily ritual and almost so much so that it enhances our lives in many positive ways.