Happiness through Life Cycle: Midlife Crisis is Real, but it will Get Better.

Comedian Dylan Moran boils life down to just four stages: “Child, failure, old and dead”. Let us examine this.

U-shaped Curve of Lifecycle Happiness: We read about mid-life crises from time to time. Is it real? When does it begin? We know that kids are usually happy but can we be happy in our old age? Only some facts emerge from the study done by Blanchflower and Oswald in a 2007 paper. They studied half a million US and Europeans and found that from around 18, we become less happy, reaching a nadir in our 40s. However, we become happy again after age 55 and remain happy most of our old life. So, happiness is a U-Shaped curve when we are happy as a child, unhappy in our youth, and somewhere after 55 years of age, we start to find happiness.

Even when you control for birth cohort, physical health, income, number of children, marital status, and education, the curve does not change.

Why are we unhappy in midlife?: Most scientists think that we are still trying to find out who we are, the stress of work and relationships is at its peak, competition is fierce, and most significantly, having kids. How can having children makes us unhappy? It may not apply to all circumstances but does apply in some instances. On closer inspection, it seems that children generally affect well-being more negatively for single parents, divorced mothers, when the children are over three years, if the family has recently moved, if the family is poor or if the child is sick and needs more than average care. This is consistent with theorizing that children put demands on day-to-day positive emotions (happiness). Still, people consider having children essential to their overall well-being and bring life satisfaction.

Why are we happier in the 5th -7th decade?: Aging brings wisdom, forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude. With age, the focus turns away from social competition to social connection. As the end of life nears, priorities shift towards savoring life, love, and this present moment together.

Criticism of Life Happiness Curve: U-shaped curve is pervasive and certainly not universal. For one thing, it seems far more prevalent in high-income nations. It also goes out of the window when life throws a curveball in health, work, relationships, death, or finances. Loneliness brings unhappiness in older age.

So, brace for your midlife crisis and hang on. Do not do anything drastic; wait to evolve to be happy with yourself.

More Here

Short Happiness Survey still open Please Click here..