Are You Getting Happier?

Are you getting happier? If you are over the age of 46, research suggests that you are. This theory is called “The U-Bend of Happiness.”

You can read my post about this concept at a favourite site of mine, Leanne’s Cresting the Hill.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this theory, and if it holds true for you. I hope to see you at Leanne’s. I greatly look forward to this discussion!

Feature Photo Credit: @rawpixel for Unsplash

 

35 Replies to “Are You Getting Happier?”

  1. Yep, this theory rings true for me. I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly happy person, but there has been some tears shed and lots of learning. Younger often means less responsibility, more frivolity and less repercussions, whereas our middle years when we’re raising our kids is often a time of uncertainty, worry and just being plain busy. At 52, I’m feeling kind of full circle, happier and more content and accepting. As an almost empty nester it’s like I’m rediscovering myself all over again and I love that feeling. Great post Donna.

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    1. Hi, Miriam – You raise some excellent points! I agree that our younger years usually mean less responsibility. As you rightly point out, our middle years can bring on heaps of responsibility, worry and uncertainty. For many of us, later years bring wisdom, acceptance and contentment. This makes total sense to me….and increases my excitement at the adventure that lies ahead!

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  2. Hi Donna I’ll be over to visit on Leanne’s blog but yes, I believe we do get happier as we age because we finally learn to accept who we are and realise that it is our time to make the most of our life and experiences. We learn that being kind to ourselves and self-love is not selfish but so important to being a happier and more loving person.

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    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for commenting both here and at Leanne’s site. I agree that a shift in mindset (for mid-lifers+), towards greater acceptance of life’s challenges is a key finding of the U-bend research. Genuinely accepting what we cannot control takes wisdom, self-awareness, experience and maturity. I also believe that self-awareness and self-acceptance are essential to our mental and emotional well-being.

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  3. Great post, Donna! At this point in my life, it seems I’m more often worried/concerned about my aging parents, but then moments of happiness slip in when they have a good day. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi, Jill – Thank you for your very open and honest comment. I know how all-consuming worrying for our aging parents can be (I’m currently experiencing this same situation). I also recognize the joy and relief when all goes well for them. Sending warm thoughts your way!

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  4. I’ve definitely gotten happier as I’ve gotten older. I think it’s the realization that my time is limited so why waste it on pleasing other people or dwelling on past regrets. I consider my reasoning to be a mature *whatever* attitude!

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    1. HI, Ally – I love this! A mature ‘whatever’ attitude suits you well!
      BTW – I believe that researchers would agree with you. The realization that our time is limited often helps produce a change in mindset that in turn increases our contentment and acceptance.

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  5. Tricky one Donna. What is happiness? I reckon I’m more settled in myself than in my younger years. I know better what’s important to me and what’s not. I can live a little easier with paradox and uncertainty. I’m more interested in serving others in whatever limited sphere of influence I have. I’ll pop over to Leanne’s post at some stage – away from home right now.

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    1. Hi, Susan – I hope that your travels are going well. I appreciate you commenting while you are away. Without reading the full post at Leanne’s, you have still managed to pinpoint the critical issues. According to researchers studying the ‘U-bend theory of happiness,’ the changes in mindset that you have described our key to contentment and satisfaction as we age.
      If you do have time to read the full post at Leanne’s, I would love to know any other opinions you have regarding this body of research. No rush. Safe travels!

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      1. I’ll certainly look for Leanne’s post Donna! Did she also question the concept of happiness? – and the pursuit of it is why it is elusive? All is good here in Paris – altogether rich in museums – plus the weather is good too! And the food – ooo la la!!

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      2. Hi, Susan – I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your Paris trip. I agree – the art, the food, the walks, the sights….they are all so incredible!
        No rush on reading my Guest Post on Leanne’s site. Selfishly, I enjoy reading your opinion on areas that interest me! 🙂

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  6. Hi Donna. I’m trying to comment again via the Reader to see how I do here. But, to answer your question briefly, yes, I’m very happy now… but I’ve always been a pretty happy person. Now, I just let things roll off my back easier. Life is too short to get stressed.

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    1. Hi, Janis – You get A+ for perseverance…and for friendship! I greatly appreciate you attempting to comment multiple times….and for checking out Reader for me. Oh the joys of self-hosting. Three steps forward…and two back! At least it gives me the chance to practice what I preach. I totally agree with you that life is way too short to get stressed…but it did take me a while to get here!

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  7. Hi Donna – I tried to leave a comment on Leanne’s site and I couldn’t. My comment seems to have gone into digital purgatory.

    Interesting post and I’m not surprised. In our 20s and 30s we are overwhelmed with conflicting demands on our time and resources … and those resources are usually pretty scarce.
    By the time we hit our mid-40s, there seems to be more breathing room – at least there was for me. So yes, I’d say my experience has been consistent with this theory 🙂

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    1. Hi, Joanne – Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I thought you would be having a ‘complete rest day’ after the wedding! I agree that ‘conflicting demands’ and often ‘trying to be many things to many different people’ can take a toll on us in our early years. Just the other day, Richard and I were wondering how we ever had time to work with all of the other activities in which we are involved. Having uninterrupted time when we want and need it is a true blessing!

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      1. I think that the fact both Gilles and I have a major activity planned for next week has kept us on our toes. I leave next week for a 4-day cycling trip in Quebec and Gilles is racing a Half-Ironman, so we were both back out training today 🙂 I think we might not get much time to relax until October 😉

        I too think back to the days of juggling small children and a career and a home and a social life … I wonder where I found the time or energy. Ahhh – to have the stamina of 30-year-old Joanne again!!
        On the other hand, my house is paid for and I’m financially secure. That alone is a major contributor to satisfaction levels later in life!

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      2. A four-day cycle trip/half-Ironman on top of planning and implementing a wedding?! You and Giles are hard-core! Good luck – please let us know how both of those events go.
        BTW – I believe that you still have the stamina of 30-year old Joanne!

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    1. Thanks for doing this, Liesbet. My guest post on Natalie’s site is coming out next week. l am then taking a five-week blogging break until my next two guests posts come out (August 2 on Hugh’s News and Views and sometime after that on Grammy’s Grid).
      I forgot to mention on my last comment, anytime during the first 3.5 weeks of September works well for us. You are most welcome to stay here for some of the time if you like.

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      1. Thanks again for the offer, Donna. By then, we might be ready for a mini-break from Zesty and a nice shower. 🙂 I’ll certainly keep you updated, so we can get together. Enjoy your blogging (and computer) break. You’ve deserved it!

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  8. I agree with it now, but I will be honest. Midlife and empty nest syndrome is real. It wasn’t easy going through it, and if you have a spouse who has to navigate it as well…it can be a painful process. Once you get past that though, it does get better 😊

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  9. I read your happy post on Leanne’s page but commenting here. I have never heard of the U-Bend theory either, but it seems to make sense in my own life. But like you, Donna, as we age, retire, chill, etc, some of the things that make us unhappy no longer do! And perhaps we have more patience and wisdom to deal with happiness. Great post, my friend!

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  10. I had not heard of that theory, but I am much happier at age 65 then I was in my younger days. I love the freedom retirement offers and I love challenging myself. I no longer take life for granted, so I try to enjoy every day!

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  11. Hi, Karen – I am not surprised that you characterize yourself as “happy.” Much of the “Happiness Research” lists several key contributing factors, e.g., Gratitude, Close Relationships, Healthy Lifestyle (exercise/sleep/diet), Actively Engaged in Meaningful Activities, Caring for Others, Awareness of Strengths/Virtues and Spiritual Engagement/Meaning. From regularly following your blog posts, I know that you excel in (and model) many of these categories.

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