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Senior Correspondent

Q. Are women happier than men?

There was a study of men and women in the United States that showed women are happier than men in their youth, and are unhappier when they are old.

The research was done by two economists, Anke Plagnol of the University of Cambridge and Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California.

Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it. — Bernard Meltzer

Plagnol and Easterlin found that happiness depends upon the gap between what you want and what you have. This gap changes and affects happiness at different stages of life.

There are two significant elements to happiness: family and finances, according to the study. In later life, the researchers say, men come closer to fulfilling their aspirations in both categories.

The following are some age milestones from the study.

At 41, men’s financial satisfaction exceeds women’s financial satisfaction

At 48, men’s overall happiness exceeds women’s overall happiness

At 64, men’s satisfaction with family life exceeds women’s satisfaction

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time. — Edith Wharton

The study also found that older people think they need more to be happy.

Respondents in the study were shown a list of 10 items and asked to choose which ones they needed to be happy. The items included home, car, children, clothing, etc.. Young men and women chose three or four items from the list. Older men and women picked an average of six items.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because, if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have, we will not be happy. — Brother David Steindl-Rast

Among the influences upon happiness found in the study are these:

  • Women marry earlier than men leading to higher satisfaction with family life at that time in their lives.
  • Men are the saddest in their twenties, when they are the most likely to be single.
  • In later years, men tend to be married and many women are widowed are divorced.
  • Early in life, women are more likely to fulfill their financial aspirations because they tend to marry slightly older men at a young age.
  • Young men are more dissatisfied with their finances, because they want more than young women do.
  • Men become more satisfied with their finances as they age, because they have increased spending power.

Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

So, what can you do bring happiness? Here are a few tips I found that make a lot of sense:

  • You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative,
  • don't mess with Mister In-Between. These old lyrics are much more than a lively ditty.
  • Live now. There is only the present. The past and future are constructions of our minds.
  • Count your blessings. Another cliche, and for good reason.
  • Give happiness and you’ll get even more in return.

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. — George Burns

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