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20.5.10

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For many, the age of 50 may be the beginning of the end, but a group of scientists claim the good life begins only when people reach their fifties.

Despite increased risk of death and disease, it seemed that people in their fifties worry less, ignore the negatives and accentuate the positives, according to scientists at Stony Brook University, New York.

The researchers said that when people reach the landmark age, their stress, anger and worry fade gradually and feelings of happiness start to surge, the Telegraph reported.

Dr Arthur Stone, one of the authors of the study, said their findings were "striking".

"You would think as chronic illness threatens life would get worse but that is not the case because people don't focus on the threats,' he said. "They focus on the good things in life like family and friends."

For their study, the researchers surveyed over 340,000 American men and women aged between 18 and 85 and found overall feelings of wellbeing improve past the middle age.

They noticed that positive and negative emotions varied with age similarly in both sexes — although women reported greater stress, worry and sadness at all ages.

Stress and anger reduced after people reached their early 20s with worry declining after the age of 50, they said.

http://www.artlurker.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/tunnelvision-model-lores.jpgVariables such as having young children, being unemployed, or being single did not affect age-related patterns of well being, they found.

The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that levels of stress, worry and anger all dropped in the fifties and levels of happiness and enjoyment increased.

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