What's the key to happiness? Middle age, study says
Many people look forward with dread to their 50th birthday. That, of course, is when we officially become middle-aged. But some recent research has uncovered something that might be surprising about middle-aged people: They're actually happier.
Arthur Stone of the Stony Brook University in New York and three colleagues analyzed data from a 2008 Gallup phone survey of more than 340,000 Americans. The survey asked whether people had experienced enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger and sadness during a significant portion of the previous day.
Positive and negative emotions varied with age in both men and women, the researchers found, though women reported more stress, worry and sadness at all ages. Negative emotions such as stress and anger declined after people reached their early 20s and worry declined after 50, according to a report published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Happiness and enjoyment increased with age, though not as much as the changes in negative emotions, the researchers found.
Interestingly, variables such as having young children, being unemployed or being single did not affect age-related patterns of well-being.
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