July 31, 2014 11:27 UTC

Health Report

What Is the Relationship Between Age and Happiness?

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A group of retirees in Alta, Utah, enjoy skiing and happiness together in this file photo.  A group of retirees in Alta, Utah, enjoy skiing and happiness together in this file photo.
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A group of retirees in Alta, Utah, enjoy skiing and happiness together in this file photo.
A group of retirees in Alta, Utah, enjoy skiing and happiness together in this file photo.

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This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Download PDF: What Is the Relationship Between Age and Happiness?
 
Are people less happy or more happy the older they get? If you answered more happy, then you were right, based on a study published two years ago. It found that people generally become happier and experience less worry after age fifty. In fact, it found that by the age of eighty-five, people are happier with their life than they were at eighteen.
 
The findings came from a Gallup survey of more than three hundred forty thousand adults in the United States in two thousand eight. At that time, the people were between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five.
 
Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University in New York led the study. His team found that levels of stress were highest among adults between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five. Stress levels dropped sharply after people reached their fifties.
 
Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their early seventies. But the people least likely to report feeling negative emotions were those in their seventies and eighties.
 
The survey also found that men and women have similar emotional patterns as they grow older. However, women at all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men did.
 
The researchers also considered possible influences like having young children, being unemployed or being single. But they found that influences like these did not affect the levels of happiness and well-being related to age.
 
So why would happiness increase with age? One theory is that, as people get older, they become more thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions. They also spend less time thinking about bad experiences.
 
The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
Happiness is not the only thing that apparently improves with age. In a study published this year, people in their eighties reported the fewest problems with the quality of their sleep.
 
Researchers surveyed more than one hundred fifty thousand American adults. The study, led by Michael Grandner at the University of Pennsylvania, appeared in the journal Sleep.
 
The original goal was to confirm the popular belief that aging is connected with increased sleep problems. The survey did find an increase during middle age, especially in women. But except for that, people reported that they felt their sleep quality improved as they got older.
 
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. To read and listen to more stories for people learning English, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Jim Tedder.
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by: Yuki from: Miyazaki
06/17/2012 2:55 PM
This is interesting news. Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiathy and Behavioval Science at Stony Brook University in Nee York found the stress levels dropped sharply after reached their fifties. Althogh I'm 18 years old , I actually feek much stress. Therefore, I do not thought " I am happy ." Should I grow older to think I am fortunate? I t is not understand. But I want to Happier more than now.


by: hisk from: japan
06/14/2012 2:59 AM
I thought that it was wonderful to get old by reading this article.Much experience of the time when I was young may give happiness.I think trying to learn a lot of things to try to a lot of it now.I am going to take a age began to seem a little fun.


by: Chizimi from: Japan
06/14/2012 2:50 AM
I surprised at this article. It is said that eighty-five people' life are happier than they were at eighteen years old. I found the first time that women at all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men did. I am woman. I fight my life from now on.


by: willison from: china
06/12/2012 3:16 PM
it is a useful survey , people control their emotion is important ,it can improve quanlity of life.


by: betul from: TURKEY
06/09/2012 11:12 AM
I think different ages have different beauty but everytime, woman are more stressful than man... maybe ..thx :)))


by: Hong Do from: VietNam
06/09/2012 7:25 AM
I am 23, I'm happy. I don't know when I'm old, I will how in my life.


by: Thi Thi from: Viet Nam
06/06/2012 3:12 AM
I am surprised to read this report. It is good exploring.


by: Hoozer from: china
06/04/2012 8:55 AM
It's interesting survey report.When i was young i had happiness experiences for everything.Because i hadn't stress for life.But i am thirty years old now,and i have wife and son.I must work hard for the family's life.Who know tomorrow will happen?Maybe i will get feel well when i am eighty years old.


by: rila
06/03/2012 4:02 PM
This is very interesting report.
The young people are not have enough experience to control of their emotions than old people. So, I think the young people feel more stress than old people.
I read " In fact, it found that by the age of eighty-five, people are happier with their life than they were at eighteen." I'm looking forward to getting old.
And I want to experience a lot of things.


by: Takeru from: Japan
06/03/2012 2:52 PM
I was surprised to hear that people of eighty-five are happier with their life than they were at eighteen. people of eighteen excels people of eighty-five in physicaly health, but people of eighty-five excels people of eighteen in in mentality health.
What is the basis of humans happy?

In Response

by: willison from: china
06/12/2012 3:21 PM
i think "that people of eighty-five are happier than they in eighteen" means people of eight-five have more skill to control their emotion.

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