How To Be Happier As You Age

How To Be Happier As You Age

Believe it or not, you can be happier at 75 than you were at 25. First of all, think about it, were you really happy at 25? Or were you filled with insecurities, uncertainties, and fear? Generally, we have so many more things to be insecure about in our 20s than we do now.

Have you noticed how some people get happier as they age, and some become unhappy? Because I work with seniors regularly in my career in hearing, I encounter the spectrum of how folks juggle through the aging process. For example, my 101year old patient lives alone by choice, is active on social media, and has her hearing aids paired to her iPhone so she can receive her calls and videos directly to her hearing aids. She brought me videos from her 100th birthday party and recently gave me a souvenir from her 101st birthday. On the other side of the spectrum, I have a patient who is 60, who feels life is virtually over and spends most of her time complaining about getting old and how challenging it is. What do you think is the difference between the two of them? Where do you see yourself at 60, 70, 80+?

Many people feel that happiness is based on things outside of themselves. Like how much money they have, if they are in a relationship, how much they weigh, their career, social status, and the list can go on. Those things have little to do with true inner happiness. Here’s a few suggestions that can increase your happiness as you age.


After the age of 60, there are two types of people – those that get happier and those that become more unhappy. Data indicates that it’s about 50/50. Those on the less happy side often believe that to be happy as you get older, you must have achieved worldly success because then you can have all the material things you desire. However, that is seldom true, simply because life is multi-dimensional. There is so much to life and happiness beyond achieving material satisfaction. My guess is that you know someone who appears to have “everything” and is not a happy person. So often our pursuit of success is based on a desire to be accepted. It stems from the belief that achievement will give us the validation needed for acceptance. When you can unconditionally love yourself, nothing can shake your happiness.


Early in life, we have what psychologists refer to as Fluid Intelligence. Fluid Intelligence involves comprehension, reasoning, and problem-solving. It increases during your 20’s and 30’s and begins declining in your 40’s and 50’s. In those early years, it makes you good at what you do. On the other hand, our Crystalized Intelligence begins to increase in your 40’s and 50’s and stays high through your 60’s, 70’s, and beyond. Crystalized intelligence is not about working hard and focusing; it’s about using the wisdom we learned and passing it on to benefit others and ourselves. You get wiser as you get older, which translates to knowing more and knowing how to use the information and pass it on. In many Native American and Indian cultures, it is expected for the elders to pass down their wisdom. So, use your Crystalized Intelligence, share it, and be happier.


Although we are always looking to add more to our lives, Arthur C Brooks, a social scientist, and professor at Harvard University discusses the importance of also subtracting things from our lives. He succinctly makes his point, “Early on, life is like a canvas that you’re filling up with paint – creatively, with energy, with enthusiasm, more brush strokes, more pain! And it’s all up to you – what you paint is limited only by your imagination. But after a certain point, that canvas gets pretty full. So, to be happy, you need to change the metaphor from a canvas you’re filling up to a block of marble that you’re chipping away. In the second half of your life, you need to become a sculptor and chip away the things that aren’t you – the possessions, the attachments, the beliefs, even opinions – all the stuff that distracts you from the serious business of being you.” So next to your bucket list, you may benefit from having a trash bin to get rid of the stuff that no longer serves you.


In addition to increasing the plasticity of your brain, trying something new can be fun. Fun is very important to your happiness and your Awesome Aging. This is a wonderful time in your life to try things you haven’t done before. Last weekend I held a snake for the first time. Even though it was just for a couple of minutes, it was fun, it was exciting, and it was another opportunity to move past a fear. What’s one thing you’ve considered doing but didn’t because it was scary, hard, too late, too expensive…? Do just one of those things this month. Stretch yourself! Have fun! Enjoy it! Be happy!


It’s a lovely exercise to consciously be aware of what you have to be grateful for. A gratitude journal is always a good way to do it on a daily basis, by daily writing 1-5 things you have to be grateful for. It is very hard to be unhappy when you are conscious of your blessings. You may be doing that in some way now, however, how often do you purposely thank those around you for being there, for listening, for their friendship, etc.? You cannot imagine the gift you are giving to that person by your simple acknowledgment.

Of course, there are many more ways to increase your happiness as you age, but these tips can give you a running start. Don’t forget, it’s impossible to be too happy! Buckle your seatbelt and start enjoying every drop of your life!

Love & Light,