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Calm is the New Happy

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

A friend dropped off an article torn from a Reader’s Digest with the title ‘Why Calm Is the New Happy.’ I said amen just from the title because it made sense to me. Being calm and peaceful is the new happiness in my life, for sure. The author describes the youthful approach to life in which happy is synonymous with excitement, activity, and movement. This life view is called promotion motivation: this motivation has to do with personal growth, achievement, and accomplishment. It is common among youth who are focused on the future and fulfilling dreams and goals. On the opposite end of the spectrum is prevention motivation; it focuses on maintaining what we value (including relationships and health) and the bliss that comes from running our life smoothly and feeling secure.

Individuals have a natural tendency toward one style or another. Promotion and prevention are on a continuum. Although it is typically correlated with age, some young people are cautious and risk-averse, while some seniors are adventurous risk-takers. Finding a balance is an individual challenge. You probably know right now which end of the continuum you are on. If you’ve been a go-getter all your life, then the anticipation of quiet, relaxing days can bring much happiness. On the other hand, if you have been cautious and reserved, you might see getting older as an opportunity to shed responsibilities and do what you want. The excitement of achieving your bucket list might bring you great happiness. When it comes to anticipating your future lifestyle, it might be well to think about your motivations. Are you looking for peace and quiet or action and activities? Or are you looking for a little of both?

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