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Why older people are better at resisting daily temptations
New York, March 25 - If your grandfather doesnt want to share a pizza or accept a new dress as a gift, appreciate him as he is way better at controlling his emotional state than you.
Researchers have found that older people are generally more emotionally stable and better able to resist temptations in their daily lives.
"There is evidence here that emotional health and regulation improve with age," said study lead author Daisy Burr from Duke University in the US.
For the findings, published in the journal Emotion, the research team pinged 123 study participants aged 20 to 80 on their cell phones three times a day for ten days.
According to the study, participants were asked to indicate how they felt on a five-point scale for each of eight emotional states, including contentment, enthusiasm, relaxation and sluggishness.
They were asked whether they were desiring anything right then, including food or alcohol, cigarettes, social media, shopping, talking to someone, sex, sleep or work. They could report up to three temptations at once.
Each participant had also been assessed on a standard measure of "global life satisfaction," which determined their general well-being, regardless of the moment-to-moment moods.
What the researchers were looking for is how positive or negative feelings and the ability to resist temptations might change as people get older.
The researchers found that older people in the study were more stable and less volatile in their emotions.
"And age, it turns out, is a stronger predictor of the ability to resist temptation than the emotional state," said study researcher Gregory Samanez-Larkin.
According to the researchers, a person's goals change with age.
"The older person may be more oriented toward the present and trying to maximize well-being every day. You want to feel good as much as possible," Samanez-Larkin said.
The researchers said their findings are a better reflection of real-world conditions because they surveyed participants in their own time and space, rather than having them respond to cues in a laboratory setting.
They added that older people are better at regulating their emotional state when allowed to do what they want.
The study found people experiencing more negative affect are worse at resisting desires. Younger study participants who had higher levels of life satisfaction were better able to resist desires.
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