What you can do: Try to allow a more positive outlook on life to emerge. Focus on daily activities that are beneficial and that you enjoy. Let go of negative feelings by pursuing activities that foster mindful awareness, such as meditation, yoga and stretching.
●Wisdom grows. There’s evidence that people are wiser in their old age.
In one study, researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Texas at Dallas asked 247 people ages 25 to 93 to pass judgment on the outcomes of fictional reports of political disputes. Experts then blindly graded their answers on such wisdom-related dimensions as the ability to see other points of view, the likelihood of change, the many ways a conflict might unfold, the uncertainty and the limits of knowledge, and the possibilities for conflict resolution and compromise.
A year later, 200 people from the initial group were retested, this time by being asked to resolve conflicts described in authentic letters to the advice columnist Dear Abby. Again, experts blindly graded their judgments.
Compared with the entire group, significantly moreolder people ranked in the top 20 percent on wisdom performance, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And people with an average age of 65 outperformed younger participants.
The brain clings to its experience-based knowledge well into old age, other research suggests. That’s one reason wisdom doesn’t seem to decline as do some other cognitive capabilities, notably some measures of memory and processing new information.
What you can do: Staying mentally and physically active may help keep the mind sharp and protect the brain from atrophy. Pursue some of the attributes of wise individuals, such as being open to new experiences and perspectives, and cultivating social relationships.
●Marriages get healthier. Married seniors report greater satisfaction and more positive experiences with their mates than younger married couples do, even when they quarrel, according to a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. One reason may be that appreciation increases as people grow older and begin to acknowledge their own mortality.