“As most people age, they become much more accepting of themselves. They also become more empathetic to others,” says Jerrold Lee Shapiro, an author and professor of psychology at Santa Clara University. Shapiro spoke with more than 200 baby boomers for his book “Finding Meaning, Facing Fears in the Autumn of Your Years.” He believes people seem less annoyed by the irritations of everyday life – and there are other researchers who agree with him. Adam Davey, a psychology professor at Temple University said “There’s an idea that has gained support that we become better at emotion regulation as we get older.” Davey thinks that as we age we learn to cope with life circumstances by rethinking how to relate to them, rather than trying to change them. It’s possible that we also learn how to better choose our battles.
While some people may question the “mellowing” as we age as a resignation, Shapiro defends his belief that the change is “incredibly hopeful.” Still, he found during his research that there are situations that can drive many people batty. “The only one that came up a number of times was an increasing rage at robocalls and dinner phone calls.” www.nytimes.com 1/17/13