How Aging Conspires to Make You Happier
By Zur Institute
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"Except for the dying part, getting older is so fabulous, I love it...everybody I know is better older. They are more relaxed, they're more mellow, they're more alert as a friends, they have a confidence...You really do acquire a kind of 'I don't give a damn' about what people think, which is so liberating. I love this age now."
- Candice Bergen
Ms. Bergen is right: Older people are happier, more positive, have better emotional control and are less concerned about peer pressure.
Researchers agree – Here are the findings:
- While rats develop 5,000 to 10,000 new hippocampal neurons every day, whether the neurons survive depends on whether the rats do challenging tasks (such as complex mazes or difficult discriminations).
- Your brain improves nerve cell transmission with increased myelination though your fifties or sixties, and thus continues to develop.
- In middle age, people start making more use of both sides of their brains (bilateralization).
- With age, people tend to place less value on achievement and novelty and more value on relationships and experiences.
- Air traffic controllers, aged 53-64, perform as well as controllers aged 20-27 (Canadian controllers had to be used for the research, as U.S. controllers are required to retire at 55).
- Since 1984, disability rates, as measured by the ability to perform activities of daily living, have been declining 1.5% to 2.5% a year. Thus, seniors are staying healthier longer.