Why we be­come hap­pier as we get older

Bhutan Times - - Home - (AK Mishra) Manag­ing Di­rec­tor MHPA Dang­dung, Trongsa

Hap­pi­ness has be­come a modern ob­ses­sion. We all search for it, hold­ing on to it, and wish­ing it on our loved ones, have all be­come mo­ti­vat­ing forces for how we live our lives. We also use hap­pi­ness as a mea­sur­ing stick for life de­ci­sions. Ex­am­ple; if a job does not make us happy, we quit it. If a re­la­tion­ship stops mak­ing us happy, we leave it.

Hap­pi­ness has lodged it­self at the cen­ter of our lives and we make some dras­tic choices des­per­ately try­ing to reach it. This is es­pe­cially true for peo­ple in their 30s and 40s, who are at the high­est risk of us­ing an­tide­pres­sant and de­vel­op­ing mood dis­or­ders than any other age group. They are also the big­gest con­sumers of the self help in­dus­try, spend­ing their money on well­be­ing re­treats, trav­el­ling, on­line hap­pi­ness boost­ing ac­tiv­i­ties or pop psy­chol­ogy books. Iron­i­cally, re­search shows that the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness might not only make us less happy, but also more lonely, as we of­ten end up cut­ting our­selves off from the peo­ple who rep­re­sent life that we want to leave be­hind.

As we grow older, the wis­dom with pas­sage of time im­proves the think­ing i.e. rel­a­tively what is right and what is wrong. Most of the un­hap­pi­ness is al­ways in­flicted on us by the out­side and at young age, it is dif­fi­cult to have im­par­tial anal­y­sis. In this sit­u­a­tion, most of us suf­fer un­hap­pi­ness some­time on petty rea­sons.

Some of the tips de­scribed be­low, if young one’s fol­low, the pos­si­bil­ity of feel­ing happy shall be much higher.

Time per­spec­tive

We tend to spend our 20s and 30s cre­at­ing our fu­ture. By our late 30s and early 40s, when we re­al­ize that (a) we have not achieved what we have hoped to achieve, (b) our fu­ture is shrink­ing rapidly.

We have 2 op­tions; ei­ther we be­gin to panic or we ad­just to the changes by di­rect­ing our thoughts to the positive past. If we look for positive past, def­i­nitely you will feel more se­cure and hap­pier as we move fur­ther in our life.

Emo­tional life

When we are young, we let our emo­tions run wild. Higher they go, lower they drop. It takes us years to con­trol them. As we move in our 50s, emo­tions be­come more sta­ble and we be­gin to achieve more seren­ity in life. Apart from that, we are more drawn to pos­i­tiv­ity and are able to hold on it for longer, which is an­other rea­son why we feel hap­pier as we age.

So­cial net­work

In our 20s, our so­cial net­work is very thriv­ing. New peo­ple com­ing to our lives all the time, be it col­leagues from new job/ex­tra circle of friends/ fam­ily of a new ro­man­tic part­ner. Then as we en­ter our 30s, it all be­gins to change. We no longer have the time nor the en­ergy to nur­ture all our friend­ships and peo­ple drop from our lives like flies. As we move into our 50s, older and wiser, we be­gin to put more effort into the peo­ple in our lives, strength­en­ing our re­la­tion­ships. This is the rea­son, why we be­come hap­pier later in our lives.

Life events

Life events are like traf­fic. When the road is empty, it is eas­ier to drive. As soon as it be­comes busy, it is harder to cope with the traf­fic. Re­search in­di­cates, that both trau­matic events and daily has­sles are at their high­est level when we reach mid life. There­after, they be­gin to slow down, as we learn how to cope with them more ef­fec­tively and we be­come hap­pier as a re­sult.


As we move along the years, we be­come bet­ter at fore­see­ing the con­se­quences of our and other peo­ple’s be­hav­iors and be­come skilled at plan­ning the best ac­tion to maneuver through life changes. Each day teaches us new life skills and they make it eas­ier for us to feel hap­pier.

In fact, it would be a good idea to re­lax and let na­ture take its own course. Be­cause with things ac­tu­ally im­prov­ing with age, up­lift­ing truth is that we all have an ever in­creas­ing chance of liv­ing hap­pily even af­ter i.e. as you grow older.

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