A psychology professor in Missouri says it appears people get happier with age.
Kennon Sheldon, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia, found older people are more able to pursue goals they enjoy and believe in, helping them to become happier with their lives.
It’s not that we’re downplaying the physical and cognitive declines, Sheldon said in a release. In at least one way, we get better as we get older, by learning to resist social pressures. Thus, we don’t waste energy doing things we don’t believe in.
His most recent study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, compared well-being and goal motivations of college students and their parents.
He found that the older participants were more satisfied with their lives and had fewer negative moods than young people. Younger people feel pressured or controlled and that takes a toll on their happiness, he said.