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People are healthier and living longer than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control, life expectancy is at an average age of 78.7, with women at 81.1 years, and men at 76.1 years. While many older folks are keeping mentally and physically fitter, they are also remaining productive as well as involved, and nothing close to being a burden to society. With more years on the planet, more older people also enjoy wisdom, higher emotion regulation, a positive attitude, and less negative thinking. They just can’t lose sleep over disappointments and petty annoyances. To them, rolling in ill will is a waste of time.

Calmer, Wiser, Happier 

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It is true, providing good mental and physical health, wellness and life satisfaction do get better into our sixties and seventies. Younger adults do indeed suffer more anxiety and depression than older adults. And studies have found that older people are overall more conscientious and agreeable; in addition, they are better able to regulate emotions when compared with younger people.

Are older people happier?

Various studies from across the globe have examined life satisfaction over adulthood, finding that younger adults have higher happiness levels, middle-aged adults are in the middle, and older adults are happier. In addition, research from the University of California at Davis found differences in how younger and older people perceived positive and negative imagery; the amygdala in older people, when compared with that of younger people, responded more to positive imagery, and less to negative imagery.

Are older people more mellow?

Older people have given up thinking that things should be a certain way; they know that if they fight life, they won’t win. They are more mellow, they don’t sweat the small stuff, and they tend to go with the flow. This may be partly because older people feel emotions less strongly, according to research from Australia. It’s easier for an older person to flash a poker face because they are more detached and they experience less internal angst.

Combatting the Stereotypes of Aging

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With so much good news and hopefulness, people still can’t shake the potential worry that it will all go downhill at some point. The statistics on cognitive impairment and disease outcomes are concerning: Will I be more at risk for mental and physical health conditions around the corner. Older adults wonder how long they can manage without assistance and elder care. They also fret about their financial outlook and whether their funds will run out. While these worries can be real and are not baseless, recent statistics show that serious decline seems to abate at least until a person is in their eighties.

Is aging all in your genes?

No. Your genes will not dictate how you age. It is not a fait accompli. Twin studies in Sweden have found that genes play some role in longevity, but certainly not all. In fact, we have a lot of control over how we age, by keeping ourselves mentally and physically active, we can forestall diminishment by a great degree. Your lifestyle—what you eat, how you sleep, level of physical activity, and more—really does matter.

Do people have negative perceptions about old age?

Many people harbor negative perceptions such as competence going to pot the older we all get. In various studies, when older adults are reminded of bleak stereotypes, measures of cognitive function and memory show a decline. But when confidence is boosted, older people do quite well on cognitive performance. We are inherently prejudiced against old age, even older people feel this way, they hold onto their preconceived notions about what it means to get old.

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