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Boomers happier now than when they were younger, study shows

Though many people cherish the carefree days of their youth, a recent study shows that baby boomers are actually happier than now than when they were younger. The survey, conducted by the Harris Interactive in June, found that 82 percent of people over the age of 50 said that they are happier with their life now than in their younger days.

The nationwide survey polled more than 1,000 adults 50 and older and revealed some interesting tidbits about what makes boomers happier than they were before. Perhaps the most important factor was that they are more certain about what they want out of life.

"The main reason people 50-plus are happier now is that they are more confident in themselves and about what they want from life," said Dr. Gail Saltz, a relationships expert at the dating site OurTime.com. "Priorities shift in this stage of life and relationships become more and more important to one's happiness."

The research also found that companionship grows increasingly important to people as they get older. Many of the stresses of their younger years are out of the way, whether it be taking care of their children or getting ahead at their job.

Even at a more specific level, boomers rated a number of things higher than in their younger days - 87 percent believe that they are more intelligent and 79 percent are more confident in what they want out of life.

In addition to deriving happiness from more security in every aspect of life, there are many other ways for boomers to maintain a positive outlook as they age. In fact, regular exercise has proven to have a significant impact on mental health along with the numerous physical benefits it offers.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise releases so-called "feel good" chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters and endorphins, which can lead to a number of positive effects including a boost in confidence and more social interaction.

There are many different kinds of exercise that allow you to reap mental health benefits, and you don't have to limit them to jogging or swimming, either. According to the clinic, anything that gets you moving, whether it be a hike in the woods or tending to your garden, can have a big impact.

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