A number of studies have claimed that happiness declines from the early 20s to middle age (40 to 60). That low point is known, of course, as the "mid-life crisis."
Well, maybe it's all a myth.
New research published in Developmental Psychology suggests that happiness doesn't stall in midlife. Instead, it's part of an upward trajectory beginning in our teens and early twenties.
This study is reviewed as far more reliable than research that came before.
People are happier in their early 40s (midlife) than they were at age 18
Happiness rises fastest between age 18 and well into the 30s
Happiness is higher in years when people are married and in better physical health, and lower in years when people are unemployed
The rise in happiness to midlife refutes the purported "u-bend" in happiness, which assumes that happiness declines between the teens and the 40s and cumulates in a midlife crisis
The difference in results from other studies of happiness is attributed to longitudinal data. Past efforts to report on life span happiness are reported by the researchers as "fundamentally flawed."
Nancy L. Galambos, Shichen Fang, Harvey J. Krahn, Matthew D. Johnson, Margie E. Lachman. Up, not down: The age curve in happiness from early adulthood to midlife in two longitudinal studies. Developmental Psychology, 2015; 51 (11): 1664 DOI:10.1037/dev0000052
I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.