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Do people get happier as they get older?

Studies conducted in the US suggest that people get happier as they age. Do you agree?

Dr Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University, asked volunteers aged 18 to mid-90s to take part in various experiments and keep diaries of their emotional state.

She found the older people were far less likely than the younger to experience persistent negative moods. They were also much better at controlling and balancing their emotions - a skill that appeared to improve the older they became.

The study suggested that young people should start preparing for their old age now by, amongst other things, adopting a healthy daily routine.

Does getting older make you happier? Do you think that young people should start to prepare for their old age? How do you achieve a state of happiness?

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Published: Sunday, 9 August, 2009, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK

"If you were born 60 years ago and saw the price of your house go up like it has, you would be very happy indeed!"
Keiron Stoneman, Newton Abbot


Ony if you were thinking of moving and 'trading down' and then you might find the value had plummeted and the market stagnant

Que sera, sera!

[Artemesia], United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK

It is difficult to speak for other people on a topic like this, or for meself at a later stage in life. but here are my current thoughts. Happiness comes and goes with circumstances, sometimes we are having a 'great time' and sometimes we are not. Continual happiness in that sense if not attainable. But Contentment is, that is, an acceptance of life and a willingness to enjoy the good things that come with each day. It is rushing to get on to the next experience which makes us unhappy.

Jo Clement, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK

my happier days were when I was younger and didn't have a care in the world, now I just have stress and worry all the time.

shelby taylor

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK

With such a bleak reality staring todays young in the face, this report is irrelevent as it is based at the peak of standards & supply of all things.

Other HYS topic suggest there will be less & poorer food supply.

Todays young generations are going to be paying for current & previous political & social excesses for decades to come.

Unsustainability is going to be paid for by todays young & NOT older politicians & generations.

Which is why they are probably so happy.

[SKYISBLUESOAMI], UN-SUSTAINABILITY THE EPITATH OF HUMANITY, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK

Do you think that young people should start to prepare for their old age? LOL.

The present generation of pensioners are overal the luckiest ever to have existed. Greatest levels of healthcare/socialcare & income.

The future is far different for young generations.

Prepare for old age? HOW?

For 16/20 year olds- Few good jobs for years to come, more taxes to pay for banks & economic fiasco, less food, we are told & work till maybe 70 & in 50 years rising seas & worse environment.

[SKYISBLUESOAMI], UN-SUSTAINABILITY THE EPITATH OF HUMANITY, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK

Getting older gives a better perspective on what's really valuable in life. Love is the most valuable and you are always free to give it, no matter how old you are.

William, Nottingham

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK

We are all victims of our circumstance. Getting older doesn't make one happier. It will just depend on your nature, your circumstances & basically the choice you make whether to be positive or negative of cynical & complain about everything. It's a conscious choice one always has to make all the time throughout every day of one's life.

Remy, Blantyre

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK

A "happy old age" is impossible while we have the nightmare of disorganised and not very adequate NHS management of age-related issues, means tests, not much continuity of care, varying standards in care units, bureaucracy gone mad with vast excesses of paperwork and anyone who goes into a nursing home (because they are seriously incapacitated and urgently need it) forced to sell their homes. No wonder 1 in 3 over-65s die in a state of dementia!

K WATSON, STOCKPORT

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK

How do you achieve a state of happiness?

I laugh at all the negative comments on here most days!!!!! Makes me happy!!!!!

AJ Wilson Briggs, Amsterdam (ExUK), Netherlands

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK

There's always a tendency to fondly reminisce about bygone days, remembering the good things and forgetting the bad things. Our tax burden has become a little more onerous, but not significantly, as an example. But there are powerful undercurrents that are making people, especially the young, more unhappy. House and food prices are rising at a greater rate than pay. Crime is starting pay, etc. If you have paid your mortgage and have a guaranteed income you're bound to be happier/more content.

Quem Deus Vult Perdere, Prius Dementat

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK

Of course you do. As you get older you realise that you can change nothing, particularly the way the country's run. So you stop carping, get on with enjoying your life and make comments on here. Great therapy.....

[Qui-tacet-consentire]

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK

In what country? If it's in the UK you will too busy struggling just getting by from day to day!

M Bessa

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK

If you're a fat cat banker or the like or are looking at an equally fat cat early retirement civil service gold plated pension paid for by what's left of us low life private sector shop floor factory workers (or in your eyes shirkers because we never really work do we) who've had the pensions schemes stopped, the funds pillaged our wages reduced and our living costs rocket and are continualy told that OUR retirement age must go up. Then you should be happy.
For the rest of us we have to be!

[CzarCastic], Cheltenham, United Kingdom

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK

Yes, I think there is truth in that. The older you get, the less you care about things that don't really matter and become more comfortable in your own skin. Teen years are fraught and anxious becasue self-image is usually fragile and dependant on being accepted by your peers.

blank- blank, London

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Added: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK

People in their 60s (a lot of them) have not faced hardships as young people of today in their 30s. The last decade has been a hard one! Old people do not need to worry about jobs, do they?!

Annette Strauch

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