Happiness is U-shaped

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  • Feeling mellow? Never fear. New research shows that happiness is U-shaped - so you might just be in a dip

    If you feel like you’re turning in to a bit of an old grouch, don’t worry as happiness is just around the corner. A survey suggests our happiness dips in our 30s but increases again as we venture towards 65.

    Life-satisfaction apparently peaks at around the age of 25 but then starts to drop. While we’re carefree and full of hope for the future in our teens and 20s, research indicates that with each passing year comes more responsibilities and worries.

    ‘A U-shaped happiness curve does not necessarily imply that a 65 year-old prefers his life to the life of a 25 year-old,’ says author of the study, Bert Van Landeghem. ‘But the 65 year-old might be more satisfied – he has learned to be satisfied with what he has.’

    Lewis Wolpert, professor of biology at UCL, says: ‘From mid-40s people tend to become even more cheerful and optimistic,’ He claims happiness could even peak as late as 80 due to our increased ability to concentrate on the things in life that we enjoy.

    Psychologists previously thought that money makes us happy, but only if you have a lot more in relation to your friends and neighbours. It turns out that owning the house of your dreams or the car you always longed for doesn’t quash that desire to keep up with the Joneses!

    ‘The standard of living has gone up over the past 40 years – but it has gone up for everyone,’ says researcher Dr Chris Boyce from the University of Warwick. ‘Earning £1 million a year appears not to be enough to make you happy if you know your friends all earn £2 million a year,’ he says.

    Do you think happiness is all relative? Have you had experience of mid 20s melancholy? Let us know what by posting below.


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