Why do the majority of people lose the joy of living that they displayed in our youth?
Is there a reason that there are so many grumpy old men?
Are the depressing lyrics of John Mellencamp’s song Jack and Diane a reality for most? – “Oh, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.”
Well researchers have been studying this and there is an excuse:-
An MRI scan study by the National Institute of Mental Health in the US has found that youthful joie de vivre depends on the number of reward circuits at the front of your brain that can become stimulated by dopamine, a key chemical reward messenger.
Apparently at my age – 60 – when I am undertaking a thrilling passtime only the parietal of my brain gets a rewarded with a dompamine shot – whereas those 20 year olds as usual get all the luck and have dopamine delivered to three areas of the brain – giving them their buzzy response to the stimulus.
Is there anything to be done? –
OK so what can I – and indeed you if you are a day over 20 – do to keep your one remaining fun circuit sparky?
There is a wealth of psychological research that shows that certain life habits can get rewards to your one remaining faithful parietal section of your brain.
These important habits are:
- learning new things
- maintaining your spontaneity
- meking new friends
- keeping old friends
- holding on to a sense of mischief
- staying doggedly optimistic
Yep – I met someone this week who could really be called sparky and even sparkly in her old age – – well into here eighties – and she certainly has all those habits a plenty.