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Want to know what age you’ll be happiest? Check out this chart

Posted on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 9:55 am

(Big Think)
There are many points of view on what exactly happiness is. Is it being successful, having close friends and a loving family, long stretches of contentment, or reaching your own life goals? If you define it as contentment with life, you may be surprised at what age(s) most people find it. There’s often more than one peak. According to a series of seven surveys recently digested and charted, most people are happiest around age 20.
Happiness drops down from then on, reaching its lowest point in middle-age, only to rise again around retirement.
What this study does is offer the strongest and most sweeping evidence yet that the U-shaped curve exists. There have been a few others in recent years that brought the curve into question. Some showed a flat or wavy pattern to happiness in some countries. But this evidence offers strong corroboration for past findings. What’s more, it may help us sort out why people suffer a psychological low in midlife.

Some experts speculate it’s because people often reach the height of their careers at this time, which adds lots of stress. Also, if they have children, they’ve likely reach adolescence. Other reasons include a higher risk of serious setbacks like a divorce, a financial crisis, or a heart attack. Then there are personal questions that creep up at this time.
Realizing that half of one’s life is over causes him or her to ruminate over their life’s accomplishments. Naturally, many start comparing themselves to others, or wishing they had accomplished more. So what happens afterward, when life satisfaction begins picking up again? It could be that people begin focusing on the present rather than the past, and this allows them to really appreciate their life and the people in it.