People who get happier as they grow older usually display these 8 specific behaviors

Ava Sinclair by Ava Sinclair | April 7, 2024, 12:03 pm

Growing older can be a daunting prospect. We’ve all heard the stories and seen the stereotypical images of grumpy old men and women set in their ways. But what if I told you that’s not the whole picture?

There are those who, surprising as it may sound, find themselves becoming happier as they age. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

It’s not about winning the lottery or finding the fountain of youth. It’s about certain behaviors they tend to display, habits they’ve cultivated over the years.

I’m going to delve into these specific behaviors, exploring how they contribute to an increased sense of happiness in later life.

Who knows? You might just find some tips to make your golden years the happiest yet.

1) They embrace change

Growing older inevitably involves change. Bodies change, circumstances transform, and life as we know it evolves.

Some people fear these changes, clinging to their youth or the past with a white-knuckle grip. But the ones who grow happier as they age? They do the exact opposite.

They embrace change with open arms. They see each transformation as a new adventure, a fresh opportunity to learn and grow.

Instead of fighting the tide, they ride it with grace and enthusiasm, welcoming each new chapter of their lives with a smile.

This attitude of acceptance and adaptation isn’t just about going with the flow. It’s about actively choosing to find joy in the journey, whatever twists and turns it might take.

2) They practice gratitude

I’ve had my fair share of bad days, times when everything seemed to go wrong. But then I’d visit my grandmother and she’d be sitting there with a smile on her face, talking about how lucky she was to see another sunrise, to have a roof over her head.

It was a simple thing, but it had a profound effect. Her focus on the positive, even in the face of adversity, was inspiring.

These folks don’t dismiss the hardships of life. They acknowledge them, but they also make it a point to recognize and appreciate the good.

By constantly acknowledging the blessings in their lives, they cultivate a sense of contentment that contributes significantly to their happiness.

3) They never stop learning

I have a neighbor, Joe, who must be in his eighties by now. But you wouldn’t believe it if you saw him. He’s always up and about, always doing something interesting.

One day, I asked him what his secret was. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “I never stopped learning.”

He wasn’t just talking about books or academic knowledge. He was talking about life lessons, about experiences, about people. He learned from everything and everyone.

Joe made it a point to step out of his comfort zone regularly. He took up painting at 60, gardening at 70, even learned how to use a smartphone at 80. And he loved every minute of it.

This constant thirst for knowledge, this curiosity about the world kept him active and engaged. It gave him a sense of purpose that I found truly inspiring.

4) They prioritize relationships

Did you know that Harvard has been studying happiness for over 80 years? One of the most significant findings from their research is the impact of relationships on our happiness.

People who get happier as they grow older know this truth and make it a point to invest in their relationships.

They understand that it’s not about having a large number of friends or an extensive social network. It’s about nurturing deep, meaningful connections with the people who matter most.

They make time for family dinners, for long conversations with old friends, for afternoon walks with their partners. They listen, they share, they laugh, they love.

These strong relationships provide them with emotional support, a sense of belonging, and a wealth of happy memories.

5) They cultivate a positive mindset

They’ve seen their share of troubles, weathered many a storm. But instead of getting bogged down by the negatives, they choose to focus on the positives. They choose to see the glass half full, not half empty.

It’s not about denying reality or pretending everything is fine when it’s not. It’s about finding that silver lining, however thin it maybe, and holding on to it.

This positive mindset is their shield against life’s hardships, their beacon of hope in the dark. It keeps them going when times get tough, and adds an extra sparkle to their happiness when times are good.

In essence, they understand that happiness is not just something that happens to them. It’s something they actively choose, every single day.

6) They practice self-care

Growing older can bring its own set of challenges. Health issues may arise, energy levels may dip, and life can get a bit more complicated. But the individuals who seem to grow happier with age have a knack for taking care of themselves.

They pay attention to their physical health, but they don’t stop there. They also understand the importance of mental and emotional well-being.

They take time out for themselves, do things they enjoy, things that relax and rejuvenate them. It could be a leisurely walk in the park, a quiet afternoon with a good book, or a pampering spa day at home.

This self-care routine isn’t just about indulgence. It’s an integral part of their lifestyle, a non-negotiable that keeps them feeling good both inside and out.

And when you feel good, it’s much easier to be happy, isn’t it? 

7) They seek purpose

Life can sometimes feel like a giant puzzle, with each of us trying to find where we fit. The folks who manage to grow happier with age often have one thing in common – they’ve found their piece of the puzzle, their purpose.

It could be something grand like creating a successful business or something as simple as being the best grandparent they can be. The size of the purpose doesn’t matter. What matters is that it gives them a reason to wake up every morning, a goal to strive for.

This sense of purpose gives their life direction and meaning. It keeps them motivated, keeps them going even when things get tough.

And most importantly, it gives them a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that nothing else can. This fulfillment is a powerful source of happiness, one that continues to grow as they age.

8) They live in the present

While it’s important to learn from the past and plan for the future, they understand the value of living in the present.

They savor every moment, taking time to appreciate the here and now. Whether it’s the warmth of the sun on their face, the laughter of their grandchildren, or the taste of their favorite meal, they fully immerse themselves in the experience.

This practice of mindfulness, this conscious effort to live in the present, allows them to enjoy life’s simple pleasures to the fullest. It helps them avoid unnecessary stress and worry about things beyond their control.

And most importantly, it allows them to focus on what really matters – the joy and happiness that each day brings.

Living in the present isn’t always easy. It takes practice. But those who master it find a profound sense of contentment and happiness.

The final thoughts

Aging is inevitable, but the way we age is largely in our hands. The behaviors we’ve explored are not exclusive to a select few. They are choices, habits that can be cultivated over time, regardless of where you are in life right now.

Embrace change, practice gratitude, keep learning, prioritize relationships, cultivate a positive mindset, take care of yourself, seek purpose and live in the present – these are the keys to growing happier as you age.

It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about ticking off all these behaviors from a checklist. It’s about making small, consistent efforts to adopt these habits. It’s about choosing happiness every day.

And remember, it’s never too late to start. As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

So go ahead. Start today. Make the rest of your life the best of your life. You deserve nothing less.