While there are lots of jokes offered up about aging, what many people fail to realize is that aging brings greater happiness, and more satisfaction along with other rich qualities and advantages. These, and more, are treasured gifts that make one’s heart excited to sing to the greatness of aging – and welcome the coming days.
Happiness: The older we get, the happier we are! Research shows that with age, people become more satisfied and less depressed, anxious and stressed – they’re happier. Experts believe this may be due to a number of factors including being more emotionally stable and content as well as having better coping abilities. You are more adept at dealing with hardships and negative circumstances while maintaining focus on savoring relationships and meaningful activities. If you are ever struggling, however, you can always try online therapy to help you get through the rough patches. Click here to find out more.
Wisdom: Defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment,” it is no wonder that people become wiser with time. Research shows that as you age, your brain creates connections and recognizes patterns, making you better at problem-solving. Also, wisdom is a multi-component personality trait that encompasses qualities such as empathy, compassion, openness to new ideas, decisiveness, and emotional regulation.
More of the Good Stuff: Countless studies show that through aging, people become more generous, more selfless, and better listeners. While the reasons are not clearly understood, some believe that a chemical reason drives this. Age-related changes in generosity are believed to be due to greater production of oxytocin—a hormone associated with empathy, bonding, and maternal love. Others hypothesize that one gains a broader perspective and focuses efforts on making the world a better place for future generations.
Confidence: With time, you become more confident in your ability (and again, less concerned about what others think). Generally speaking, you become less likely to succumb to performance motivation—competing against others for upward mobility.
Greater Perspective: Over the years, you have the opportunity to gain great knowledge and insight into the dynamics of life. There is a better understanding of emotions and how to manage them. And, by managing your emotions, you gain greater perspective, helping you focus on the big picture and important issues—no longer letting emotional storms distract you from goals. Thus, when presented with challenges (and life is full of them), you know how take a step back and observe situations so you can focus on realistic solutions.
Healthier Connections: Having greater perspective with more empathy means you’re better able to understand and share the feelings of others. This makes for a better partner, friend, co-worker and family unit. Also, with better recognition of the importance and value of time, you are more motivated to make strong emotional connections with others—and are more selective and will invest greater resources in meaningful relationships, goals and activities. Additionally, with age, you may find yourself in a caregiver role to an aging family member or loved one, which requires you to perceive and respond to their needs.
Less Stress: According to the American Psychological Association’s Annual Stress in America Report, older adults experience the lowest levels of stress, whereas those 22-37 years old continue to have the highest reported stress levels. Good reasons for this likely are from learning to live in the moment, appreciating the present (being mindful), dwelling less on the negative, not overreacting, and focusing more on the positive—a scientific concept known as the socioemotional selectivity theory.
Better Storyteller: Life experiences and the wisdoms garnered from living enrich what you talk about. You infuse meaning in your stories. For example, you can talk about experiences that challenged you and how you grew from them, which helps others while inspiring them. And you become better equipped to depict memorable stories that are relatively simple and straightforward.
There are great upsides to getting older! And age is a gift not everyone gets – here’s to more shining candles!