Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby Boomer Happiness

Despite what some may think, money cannot buy you happiness. It may help ease some of the burdens associated with growing older and retirement, but money is not the end all---be all---of the rest of your life.

Believe it or not, age, genetics and a sense of purpose are significant factors in happiness according to some happiness research.

Here are some of the highlights of that research:

Midlife crisis: This plunge is real, no matter where you live or what your circumstances. According to a study of about 2 million people in nearly 80 countries, mental distress peaks at midlife. In the United States, this typically happens for women at around age 40 and for men at around age 50.

Golden years glow:
Contentment swings up later in life. People in their 60s and 70s tend to be as satisfied as younger people. No one knows for sure what causes the upswing. It could be acceptance of weakness, more maturity or more appreciation for life as friends and loved ones die. And, happier people may live longer, affecting the data.

Genetics: Numerous studies have shown that genetics accounts for up to half of individual differences in both well-being and positive personality traits, which are closely linked. And women tend to be slightly happier than men.

Life circumstances: Regardless of genetics, people respond to life events, and long-term levels of happiness may change after major life events such as marriage, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Higher levels of education boost happiness. Social connectedness also increases happiness. This factor may explain why women are happier (and commit suicide less) than men, who are more likely to be socially isolated, especially after they retire.

Health: People in excellent health are almost twice as likely to be happier than those in merely good health. Poor health makes 70 percent less likely to be happy, compared with those in good health. And, a sense of well-being is linked to greater longevity and less risk of disease.

A happiness boost: Some researchers suggest focusing on intentional activities, the ones you choose to engage in mindfully and actively, as a good way to boost long-term happiness.

2 comments:

Eileen Williams said...

This post is fascinating!
I'm a big believer in the powers of focus and attitude. On the very same day, I can be both miserable and joyous. It's a matter of where I choose to place my thoughts and how I opt to react to my circumstances.
Although there are many biological grounds that affect how one perceives her life, there are numerous ways that choice plays into how happy we are. It's truly food for thought.
Thanks for the great information!

JOANN NORALS said...

Keep it up! Great Blog. When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounte.