Our age defines happiness for us

August 4th, 2011 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 4 (IANS) Happiness, it is said, is all a state of the mind — and a new study has revealed how young and old people experience completely different emotions when they say they are happy.

Researchers have found that young adults find it difficult to find joy without excitement and for children the two things are virtually inseparable, Daily Mail reported.

For young people, around 60 percent of happiness is all about excitement, say scientists.

In contrast, as we get older we associate 80 percent of happiness with ‘contentment’.

The study indicates there are at least two quite different kinds of happiness.

In a study of different age groups, Cassie Mogilner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “We are talking about two distinct types of happiness, one associated with peacefulness and one associated with being excited.

“Whereas younger people are more likely to associate happiness with excitement, as they get older, they become more likely to associate happiness with peacefulness.”

Young individuals, who are generally more interested in future, base their happiness more on excitement, said Mogilner. However, older people place a higher value on the present, hence, contentment tends to be a greater source of happiness for them.

“The research does not determine a relationship between age and levels of happiness,” she said, adding: “However, it does identify a relationship between age and the meaning of happiness.”

Mogilner, conducted five studies involving different groups of people - one group aged in their teens, one in their 20s, and others in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

She and her team used a complicated computer programme to analyse millions of blogs written by people in each of the age groups.

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