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Health & Balance

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The Older You Are, the Happier You Get

Researchers Say Aging and Increased Happiness Go Hand in Hand

Second Opinions: Age and Happiness, Social Connections continued...

Smith was not involved in her study but is familiar with the results. "If you think old people become depressed and grumpy, the good news is: no they don't," he says, adding, "We're talking about averages, and there are always ups and downs."

The study results on happiness make perfect sense, says Barbara Becker Holstein, PhD, a psychologist in Long Branch, N.J. With age, she notices, people's expectations become much more realistic. "The pressure from careers has dissipated. Older people can be in the moment, be in real time and enjoy it."

Both studies help dispel age stereotypes, says Adam Davey, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Temple University. "I think the stereotype is we get older, sicker, lonelier, more depressed."

To stay happy and socially engaged, Davey tells people to retain novelty in their lives by pushing beyond their comfort zone and trying new things. "I think the novelty sustains adaptability and the more adaptable, the better off we are long term.'' The more people seek out new experiences, he says, the more active and engaged they remain.

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