‘Happiness curve’ bottoms out at 44: study

January 31, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Posted in psychiatry | Leave a comment

Knowing our limits

Professor Oswald says the most plausible explanation for the U-curve is to do with the recognition in middle-age of our limitations.

“[The cause of the downward trend is] probably start your life expecting too much of yourself being the general manager, being the Australian cricket team, winning a Nobel prize, whatever it is,” he said.

“And you discover as you go through your 30s and don’t achieve that and that’s a painful realisation. If you can let that go in middle-age, maybe that’s the secret of why our people in this study become happier and mentally healthier.”

He says that it is possible that people who are incredibly high achievers will not experience that trough at the age of 44 or thereabouts.


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