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This one character trait will make you happier in old age

Outgoing Youth

Happiness is not constrained by time or money, but it is apparently quite clearly linked to how outgoing a person is during youthful days. It’s a sweet thought really, and quite productive in terms of pushing the normally shy to open up and speak out with a voice more than loud enough to hear. It can be hard to be outgoing, many preferring to stay hidden inside a shell of their own making. Research shows that this can, in fact, greatly affect your depression or happiness levels as you grow older.

What does it mean to be outgoing, however? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is a word known to exist since 1633, meaning someone is openly friendly and responsive. One doesn’t need to shout at the top of their lungs or be very enthusiastic, bouncing about the place. All a person needs to show is a demeanour lacking shyness.

The Outgoing Youth Have Happier Old Age

Why should you be outgoing? In a study conducted within multiple universities on the British Isles, the neuroticism and extroversion of individuals were measured at ages 16, 26 and later in life between the ages of 60 and 64. Extroversion was assessed through their sociability, energy, and activity orientation, while neuroticism was assessed by emotional stability, mood, and distractibility. It was found that greater extroversion led to better health and psychological well-being, with fewer stressors to pull a person down, while neuroticism led to greater psychological distress and, on a smaller margin, poorer physical health. The outgoing ones were also much more satisfied with their lives. The happier a person is, the longer he or she lives. For doctors, knowing such information can be vital to gauging length of life as well, knowing full well that happy people live longer.

If it’s so important to be outgoing, the shy must be wondering how to manage that. There are some simple steps to take to manage this not-so-simple task:

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1. Body language: Make sure you are not staring at your shoes, the ground, the wall behind the person, the bird in the sky, or anywhere else. When speaking, make eye contact. It will calm you and your friend, as well as establish a level of respect and intimacy. The person may be very important for you. It’s equally important to ensure they know this with body language.

2. Act it: It isn’t easy, but pretend to be an actor. Except, if you screw up the lines, no one will fire you from the set. Most people are very understanding. Don’t be afraid to try to act it out, until it becomes an integral part of your everyday life.

3. Be at your best: the more you enjoy being in your own skin, the more confident you’ll be in talking to someone else. Allow others to see you when you are happiest with how you look and behave, knowing full well when you give only half of what you can.

4. Study how it’s done: Literally, keep a close eye on known extroverts. This will increase confidence levels, as you have a direct role model to imitate now. Mistakes are out of your hand, for there is another that you learned that behavior from.

There you have it. The most outgoing between the ages of 16 and 26, it seems, are concluded to be the happiest elderly.

Reference: University of Southhampton