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Spirits Lift, Worries Subside After 50, Says Study

Posted: May 18, 2010

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What's going on? One popular theory in academia is that people stop looking forward as they get older and begin appreciating what they have in life. "Perhaps you're making decisions about your life to maximize your pleasure in the now," Stone said. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside who studies happiness, said the findings about people in their 70s and 80s -- that they're less worried, stressed and angry than even those who are just somewhat younger -- aren't consistent with previous research.

"That's when your friends are dying and you have health problems and you're caring for your spouse," said Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness. "That's really surprising that people in their 80s are happier than in their 70s and 60s. That's almost shocking, and not consistent with everything I've seen," she said. Why does this research even matter? "It will make us happier and dread older age less if we know that some people who are older are happier," Lyubomirsky said. "It debunks some stereotypes about older people." And Stone said research like this can help policymakers and others to understand what makes people happy. The study appears in the May 17-21 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

From Yahoo HealthDay News, May 17, 2010