New research by Hannes Schwandt, of Princeton University, reveals that persons—men and women alike—experience a peak in happiness at the age of 23.
According to researchers, at age 23 individuals experience high levels of life esatisfaction and are hopeful and optimistic about the future. In fact, Schwandt’s research, which was based on German data, found that persons in their 20s tend to overestimate their future happiness by around 10 percent.
According to the study, for most, when life doesn’t meet those great expectations, one’s happiness begins a steady decline and generally hits rock bottom in one’s mid-50s.
At 55, persons commonly to experience high amounts of frustration and regret—a happiness killer.
After the age of 55, expectations for the future continue to drop, but feelings of general well-being rises. This suggests we learn how to manage disappointment.
By 69, happiness peaks again. Researchers recommend, “People in their fifties could learn a little from the elderly, who generally feel less regret. They should try not to be frustrated with their unmet expectations because they are probably not feeling much worse than their peers.”
Dr. Anthony Centore, Licensed Therapist and Founder of Thriveworks, notes that while studies like this can be good predictors of happiness in general, each individual is in control of his or her own levels of happiness and life satisfaction. According to Dr. Centore, “The second happiness peak at 69 shows us that happiness isn’t about what happens in one’s life—but one’s attitude toward it. If an individual can revise his or her expectations, or attitudes toward life’s the ups-and-downs, it stands to reason that one could be just as happy at 55 as he or she was at 23.”
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