New Study Shows That People in Their 40s Are Happiest

New research published in Developmental Psychology suggests that people are happier in their early 40s (midlife) than they were at age 18.

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.

Other findings:

  • 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.”

Source: University of Alberta. “New study challenges ‘mid-life crisis’ theory”  via ScienceDaily.
Journal Reference:
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

Your Toddler’s Weight Might Be Affected By Their Exposure to Artificial Light 

Light exposure plays a role in the weight of preschool children, a world-first study reveals.

The timing, intensity and duration of exposure to both artificial and natural light have acute biological effects in mammals.

Light exposure plays a role in the weight of preschool children, a world-first study reveals.

“Artificial lighting, including light given off by tablets, mobile phones, night lights, and television, means modern children are exposed to more environmental light than any previous generation. This increase in light exposure has paralleled global increases in obesity.”

“The circadian clock — also known as the internal body clock — is largely driven by our exposure to light and the timing of when that happens. It impacts on sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, hormonal changes and our mood,” said PhD student and study author Cassandra Pattinson said.

READ: Excess light can seriously affect sleep quality in adults.

Source: Light exposure and kids’ weight: Is there a link? World-first study revealing light exposure plays a role in the weight of preschool children via ScienceDaily.com

Study Shows That Women With More Kids Might Live Longer. (What?)

If you’re a woman who wants to age more slowly, this study says you simply need to have more kids. Easy, right?

If you’re a woman who wants to age more slowly, this study says you simply need to have more kids. Easy, right?

Researchers suggest that the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages.

A study by Simon Fraser University has found that women who have more kids tend to have longer telomeres. “Telomeres” are a protective component of DNA. Telomeres reveal cellular aging. Longer telomeres tend to equal longer life.

This is surprising, because it’s assumed that childbearing is so stressful that it lead to a shorter lifespan.

There may be more to the study then meets the eye, however. Social environment might influence “the relationship between reproductive efforts and the pace of aging.”

“The women we followed over the course of the study were from natural fertility populations where mothers who bear numerous children receive more social support from their relatives and friends,” explains Nepomnaschy. “Greater support leads to an increase in the amount of metabolic energy that can be allocated to tissue maintenance, thereby slowing down the process of aging.”

Having more children slows down aging process” via  ScienceDaily.com

How to see this year’s Perseid meteor shower with your kids

It’s been a month since we hauled our families out into the night to watch fireworks light up the sky. The summer’s own natural celestial fireworks – the Perseid meteor shower – starts this weekend. They run through next week, when they hit peak performance from Tuesday to Thursday August 11-13.

Luckily for your budding astronomers, this year the new moon doesn’t occur until August 14th, which means conditions for viewing the meteor shower will be near perfect.

For the kids: What is a meteor shower?

The Perseids appear to rain from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast around 11 pm in August. While knowledge of the map of constellations isn’t required to locate the shower (clearly you’ll know a meteor when you see it with your eyeballs), it can certainly be helpful in setting up a prime viewing location. The Starwalk kids app is fantastic for figuring out exactly what is going on in the night sky.

Pack the essentials: comfortable chairs, blankets, bug spray, and snacks. Head to a location free from artificial light, keeping in mind that it takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to properly adjust to darkness. If you can make out all the stars in the little dipper, both you and the sky are in good shape.

Watching and waiting on the night sky is obviously an exercise in patience, which can be in short supply for kids and parents (especially so late at night). But judging by the looks on the faces of my kids and their friend as they spotted a meteor streak by at the drive-in, all it takes is one to get them hooked.

Other resources:

Find exactly where to see them from your location.

Pump yourself up for the ultimate evening of stargazing with this mind blowing video: 7 years of meteor showers condensed to two minutes. Woah.

5 links to share with your curious kids (week of 6/12/15)

Share awesome, fun links with your kids curated by Today Box. Today Box curates fun and educational facts, videos, photos and jokes for curious kids, parents and educators.

View past Internet Field Trips here.

Week of June 12, 2015

mirror and jungle

Scientists place a mirror in the jungle to see how different animals react to their reflections in this video posted to Today Box.

exploding plants

These plants explode to disperse their seeds. Enjoy this stunning footage from The Smithsonian.

sketch

Pat Vale takes sketching to new heights in this timelapse drawing of New York City.

aurora

This pulsating aurora shot in the sky over Iceland is mesmerizing.

bird

Dance to the beat with this funny parrot. Pretty bird got some moves!

View past Internet Field Trips here.

View over 1,000 amazing kid-friendly posts on Today Box.

The Future Belongs to the Brave

Today is NASA National Remembrance Day. We celebrate the lives of all the men and women who died for the sake of space exploration. It was 29 years ago today the Challenger space shuttle exploded, killing six astronauts and a high school teacher aboard the flight.

Approximately 17% of the country watched the shuttle launch live on television that day. I was one of them. Our third grade class got to see the launch, as part of our space unit. Mrs. Slater bounced with anticipation and excitement as we crowded our chairs together in front of the television wheeled to the front of the classroom.

I cringe at the memory of Mrs. Slater’s tears streaming down her face as we watched the shuttle explode. Teachers didn’t cry. Teachers didn’t die. My eight-year-old self vowed that day to never go to space. It was too dangerous.

Today I am a teacher and parent. I live for “aha moments” and mind explosions in the classroom. I take my six-year-old daughter on Internet field trips to space and conduct science experiments with her at home. Together we celebrate the joy and wonder of man’s quest for new knowledge.

President Ronald Reagan gave one of the best speeches of his career on the day the Challenger exploded. He was supposed to give a State of the Union Address that evening. Instead he addressed the families of the NASA tragedy and the nation’s school children:

Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

Today let’s celebrate those men and women. Let’s take the time to share our curiosity and passion for learning with our kids. Take an Internet Field Trip through space in the Today Box archives. Play in the cockpit of a real space shuttle. Discover the red surface of Mars.

When the kids go to bed, enjoy Reagan’s speech. It’s a beauty.