Laura Carstensen says positive relationship between aging and happiness is no paradox

NIA Aging Centers News Reference

A recent survey of adults age 21 to 99 found that those in the 20s were most stressed and depressed, while those in the 90s were most content. In fact, investigators found a linear relationship between age and emotional well being throughout life. This is sometimes called the 'paradox of aging' among those who study the phenomenon. But Linda Carstensen does not believe this is a paradox at all: "When people face endings they tend to shift from goals about exploration and expanding horizons to ones about savoring relationships and focusing on meaningful activities. When you focus on emotionally meaningful goals, life gets better, you feel better, and the negative emotions become less frequent and more fleeting when they occur.”

Researcher Profile:
Laura Carstensen (Stanford)

More Information:

News media website

Additional Media Coverage:

"The aging paradox: The older we get, the happier we are" - Los Angeles Times. 8/29/2016.

"Old People Are Happier Than People In Their 20s" - Time. 8/24/2016.

"Why we're happier when we're older" - Mother Nature Network. 8/26/2016.

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