|Study: Happiness peaks at 23, 69|
BY 鱼遨游 from 21st Century|
If you’re middle-aged and miserable, don’t despair: Give it a decade or two and you’ll be feeling like a carefree young person again.
Researchers have revealed that life satisfaction peaks at 23 and 69. People in their early twenties overestimate their future life satisfaction by an average of around 10 per cent, before the disappointments of life kick in.
They face decades of declining expectation before hitting their lowest point in their mid-fifties, when regrets over unrealised dreams are at their greatest. Satisfaction levels finally start to rise again after 55 and peak once more at 69, according to a study by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.
Those aged 68 underestimate their future happiness by 4.5 per cent, meaning they no longer face disappointment, the researchers found. The findings suggest that actresses Emma Watson and Kristen Stewart, both 23, should relish this year.
If the research is borne out they will be optimistic but are likely to face disappointment in the next four decades. Previous studies have found that human contentment follows a U-shaped pattern, with those in their early twenties and the retired ranking highest.
The pattern has been observed in more than 50 nations and across class and financial divides. And a study by the National Academy of Sciences in the US found evidence that even great apes can suffer a mid-life crisis.
The CEP paper, to be published this week, is the first to examine how our expectations compare to reality at different life stages. Researcher Hannes Schwandt, 30, analysed happiness levels for 23,161 Germans aged 17 to 85.
Dr Schwandt, who is based at Princeton University in the US but is a visiting researcher at the London centre, said: ‘One theory is that the U-shape is driven by unmet aspirations which are painfully felt in midlife but beneficially abandoned later in life.
‘People in their fifties could learn from the elderly, who generally feel less regret. They should try not to be frustrated by their unmet expectations because they are probably not feeling much worse than their peers.’
(Translator & Editor: 21英语 Aaron)