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Christian Counseling - A Silver Lining In The Golden Years

Some complain that the golden years of life are not all they are cracked up to be. Likely included in the list of complaints are the aches and losses associated with physical decline due to aging and unforeseen financial issues due to the state of a troubled economy. The truth is that at every stage of life there exist inherent problems--birth trauma, two-year-old independence, academic performance in the school years, puberty, socialization, leaving home, career building, being single and/ or marital adjustment, raising children, empty nest, growing health concerns and retirement, to cite a few examples. Yet, recent research suggests there is at least a silver lining to the golden years.

Past research has reported most people grow happier as they age. Add to this the positive results of a 2008 study of a telephone survey of 340,000 people age 18 to 85. In this study people reported less anger and stress as they grew older. By 50 years of age anxiety decreased and happiness and enjoyment increased. Yet, it also showed that "Overall life satisfaction declined from ages 18 to 50, and then started improving." A critical point exists for many between 50 and 53 years of age when life satisfaction begins to rise, which, the study showed, is independent of relationships, employment and if children lived at home or not. The researchers speculated the higher degree of life satisfaction might be due to things, such as: "increased emotional intelligence, a greater ability to take things in stride, and the increasing tendency to recall more positive memories and fewer negative ones."1

Like one's spiritual life and fine wine and cheese, happiness and enjoyment seem to age well for most people.

Miller, Michael Craig, M.D.  Study suggests there is a silver lining to the "golden" years. Harvard Mental Health Newsletter. September 2010: Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 7. 

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