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Emotions Get Better With Age

For the past 20 years, Susan Turk Charles, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, has been monitoring the shifting moods, the sense of satisfaction, the moments of contemplation and the occasional outbursts of anger, sadness and despair of people of all ages — with a special interest in how we handle and experience emotions as we grow older. She and her colleagues have found that, on average, older people have fewer but more satisfying social contacts and report higher emotional well-being. What is the secret behind this grizzled levelheadedness? How can we make sure that as many people as possible can benefit from it? And what can it teach the young?

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