The Seven Keys to Happiness as we Age


Last Updated on May 28, 2024

Are you happy? A new study by Gallup that measures happiness levels found that Finland is now the happiest country in the world. And here in the United States? The U.S. fell from 15th down to 23rd on the latest happiness scale. 

However, there is a sharp divide in happiness levels in the U.S., based on age. People 60 and older in the U.S. report high levels of happiness, ranking among the top 10 countries in the world for this demographic. Meanwhile, happiness among younger adults and teens is declining. One of the co-authors of the study believes social media is partly to blame for amplifying political polarization, discrimination, cyberbullying, and other issues. 

Of course, we would all like to lead happier lives as we age – but how do we get there? Growing Bolder, the world’s leading active lifestyle brand and media company for adults 40, 50, 60 and beyond, is focused on rebranding aging as a time of passion, purpose, and possibility, full of happiness for all.

Growing Bolder’s 7 Keys to Happiness as we Age

1. Have Purpose

It’s crucial that we have a reason to get up and get out of bed every morning. Having a sense of purpose has been directly linked to happiness. It gives us a sense of belonging, a reason for being, and helps us start each day off on the right foot. Your purpose doesn’t have to be profound or world-changing. It must simply move you to action and motivate you to seek out opportunities and give your life meaning. Many have found purpose by creating artwork, writing, volunteering, joining senior athletics, teaching, gardening and more. 

2. Embrace Change

The only constant in life is change. If you fear it or fight it, you end up on the couch, isolated. We must learn to embrace change and grow with it. Change is not always easy, but it is the wave that we ride to happiness.

3. Stay Curious

Never stop learning. Saying yes to new experiences and learning new things boosts confidence and can expand life in countless and unpredictable ways. You may not fall in love with every new thing you try, but chances are, you will find new places, activities, books and more that bring you joy. Plus, studies have shown that in addition to making you happier, lifelong learning will improve your brain health, boost your memory and help prevent cognitive disease.

4. Be Kind to Yourself

In our younger years, many of us become self-critical. Social circles and stressful careers can lead us to compare ourselves to others and to try to please everyone. Now is the time to cultivate a kinder inner voice. Give yourself grace and become a friend to yourself instead of another critic.

5. Find Joy in the Little Things

Noticing good things, however small, helps develop a sense of hope, optimism, and happiness. Train your brain to see what’s good around you. Gratitude, recognizing what we have or what we have received, is a foundation for happiness. As historian and writer Alice Morse Earle once said, “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

6. Stay Connected

Nurture your relationships with others. It’s been proven that social connection is vital to our health and happiness, and that isolation can be just as harmful as smoking, obesity, and diabetes as we age. Community is immunity. Knowing who you can turn to for support during any of life’s challenges is especially helpful.

7. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Research has found that random acts of kindness increase happiness and self-esteem, and decrease stress. These acts don’t have to be anything more than a simple smile, a word of encouragement, a plate of cookies, a phone call to check-in, or a helping hand. Random acts of kindness are contagious. People who receive acts of kindness are more likely to be kind and generous themselves. So why not make a random act of kindness part of your “what’s next,” and spread more happiness in the world? 

Click here to watch more of Growing Bolder’s inspirational videos, pep talks and more to help you on your journey to making the rest of your life the best of your life.

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