Be thankful for your age this Thanksgiving. Research shows there is plenty of reason to believe that your golden years really are the best.
This is true for a variety of reasons that are ignored when we think of aging, largely due to media coverage that chooses to focus on wrinkled skin, failing organs and the development of chronic conditions.
Here are 5 reasons to be thankful for where you are in your life and why you should be looking ahead to what comes with age.
You’re the Happiest You’ve Ever Been
As you age, you grow used to accepting things that are out of your control and therefore, have more control over your state of mind when things aren’t going your way. Research examining fMRI scans have shown that older adults’ brains had strong connections between emotion-processing regions and those involved in the formation of memories. The same strong connections weren’t found for the younger participants. Older adults are less likely to dwell on things and may have an easier time finding silver linings.
You Need Less Sleep
A study published in the journal Current Biology examined the sleep patterns and requirements adults between the ages of 60 and 76 in comparison to younger counterparts between the ages of 18 and 32. The results determined that seniors require one and a half fewer hours of sleep each night than younger people. The researchers also posed questions about older people who believe they need up to nine hours of sleep each night, the way they did at a younger age. They believe that some older adults may be self-identifying as suffering from insomnia when in fact, they are closer to healthy sleep patterns than they think.
Emotions are Easier to Regulate
In our youth, our emotions can have a tendency to get the best of us. But as old age sets in, we commonly find more stability and serenity from the emotional drivers that once led us to do drastic things. This numbing of emotionally relevant brain functions helps older adults to prevent stress and anxiety from generating physiological activity that is harmful to their wellbeing. While this is true for cognitively healthy older adults, the same may not hold true for those suffering from neurodegenerative conditions and it is possible that these assumptions may only apply to moderate stimuli rather extreme circumstances.
Your Sex Life Gets Better
Sex is a healthy activity for adults of any age and it doesn’t have to become less common as we grow older. Studies show that the sex drive of older adults remains intact well past the age of 80. Regular sexual activity is closely tied to good health, with studies showing a correlation between poor health and low sexual activity, though it is possible that data in this area is skewed due to the fact that those in poor health are in less of a position to engage in sexual activity to begin with.
Life Slows Down
In our prime, life happens quickly. Work, relationships, children, the politics of the day, it all tends to not only weigh on us, but create a stressful environment that impacts our ability to cope and thus, be happy. On the other hand, as we age and kids move out, our personal situations stabilize and career aspirations become less important to us, finding time to focus on enjoying the day becomes easier.