Or are we just more risk averse and thankful for ‘small mercies’?
Whilst there are some undoubtedly unpleasant aspects of growing older, a study reported by Psyblog suggests that aging changes what makes you happy and that you are more likely than younger people to enjoy everyday mundane experiences.
Now that I am older and wiser I do subscribe to the “nice cup of tea whilst listening to Classic FM fixes everything” approach but I wonder whether I’m settling for what I know is an acceptable level of happiness, rather than risk some discomfort to potentially achieve a higher level of happiness. This also raises the question of whether once past a landmark age of say 55 or 60 we retreat into our comfort zone. Our Mental Toughness 4C Challenge score will probably fall as a result.
The study reported that with increasing age, people get more pleasure from everyday experiences. Two hundred people between the ages of 19 and 79 were asked about happy experiences they’d had that were both ordinary and extraordinary. Across all the age groups in the study, people found pleasure in all sorts of experiences; both ordinary and extraordinary. But it was older people who managed to extract more pleasure from relatively ordinary experiences. They got more pleasure out of spending time with their family, from the look on someone’s face or a walk in the park. Younger people, meanwhile, defined themselves more by extraordinary experiences.
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Paul Lyons is an experienced CEO, Coach, Speaker, NED and MTQ48 accredited. As CEO of Mental Toughness Partners, he assists individuals and organisations to develop their mental toughness to improve performance, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find him at paullyons.com and mentaltoughness.partners