I don't believe it! Research shows our happiness steadily increases once we pass 45
07:59 GMT, 12 March 2012
There's always one exception: Although our physical quality of life goes down once we get past middle-age, our mental satisfaction 'increases'
The caricature of the grumpy old man as personified by misery guts sitcom character Victor Meldrew may not be that true-to-life after all.
In fact the older we get, the happier we are, researchers claim.
Although our physical quality of life goes down once we get past middle-age, our mental satisfaction increases.
The University of Warwick study backs up previous research showing that our happiness levels form a U-curve, reaching their low point at around 45 but then increasing as we age.
Researchers analysed lifestyle and health patterns in more than 10,000 people in the U.S. and the UK.
evaluated quality of life using eight different factors including
perception of general health, pain, social functioning and mental
Saverio Stranges, who led the study, said happiness may increase with
age because we develop 'better coping abilities' to deal with hardship
than younger people.
obvious that people's physical quality of life deteriorates as they age,
but what is interesting is that their mental well-being doesn't also
deteriorate – in fact it increases,' he added.
On the up: The study shows that our happiness levels form a U-curve, reaching their low point at around 45 but then increasing as we age
'We suggest that this could be due to
better coping abilities, an interpretation supported by previous
research showing older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal
better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are
'It could also be due to a lowering of expectations from life, with older people less likely to put pressure on themselves in the personal and professional spheres.'
The study also found that those who slept between six and eight hours per day tended to have both better physical and mental health scores than those who slept on average less than six hours or more than eight hours.