Did you know that new surveys over the last couple of years show that the 'ability to cope' improves with age?
Because of the pandemic this last year has certainly been a challenge to our mental health. However, there is a consoling truth: that age and emotional well-being tend to increase together, as a rule, even as mental acuity and physical health taper off!
People aged 50 and over score consistently higher (and more positively) on a wide variety of daily emotions. The older crowd tend to have more positive emotions in a given day rather than negative emotions. This is independent of income or education in national studies.
Dr. Laura Carstensen led a research team that studied the reality of prolonged stress. Older people have been at a much higher risk both of getting sick and dying of Covid-19 than younger people.
“This was, from the beginning, a threat to older people that they simply could not avoid — and, crucially, it was prolonged stress,” said Dr. Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford University’s Center on Longevity.
In April, after the potential scope of the pandemic was apparent, the team recruited a representative sample of some 1,000 adults, aged 18 to 76, living across the country. The participants answered surveys with detailed questions about their emotions over the previous week, including 16 positive states, like relaxed or amused, and 13 negative ones, like guilt or anger.
“Younger people were doing far worse emotionally than older people were,” Dr. Carstensen said. “This was April, the most anxiety-producing month, it was novel, cases went from nothing to 60,000, there was lots of attention and fear surrounding all this — and yet we see the same pattern as in other studies, with older people reporting less distress.”
In a similar study, psychologists at the University of British Columbia exhaustively surveyed some 800 adults of all ages in the first couple of months of the pandemic — and found the same thing.
A "take away" from these studies indicate: Older age was associated with less concern about the threat of Covid-19, better emotional well-being, and more daily positive events.
Also, after middle age, people become more aware of a narrowing time horizon and, consciously or not, begin to gravitate toward daily activities that are more inherently pleasing than self-improving. Source...New York Times
You might enjoy this recent post: Aging in Place