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Why We're Unhappiest in Our Late 40s

A midlife crisis

A midlife crisis

The disappointment with life is often the difference between our expectations for ourselves and what life actually holds for us.

According to research, people's happiness forms a U shape over their lifetime, hitting its lowest point in midlife.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Why We're Unhappiest in Our Late 40s

Why We're Unhappiest in Our Late 40s

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_were_unhappiest_in_our_late_40s

greatergood.berkeley.edu

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Key Ideas

A midlife crisis

The disappointment with life is often the difference between our expectations for ourselves and what life actually holds for us.

According to research, people's happiness forms a U shape over their lifetime, hitting its lowest point in midlife.

The trend is worldwide

People’s happiness is the lowest around the ages of 47 to 49. The dip in happiness is the same everywhere: In America, Germany, Thailand, Pakistan, even in countries with a lower life expectancy.

Happiness dip causes

The happiness dip may have to do with getting real - finding that our dreams are not going to happen. That can be a painful reality check.

If we don't use the midlife self-reflection positively, we may become disillusioned and make rash decisions or end relationships that can be damaging to our well-being.

Protecting ourselves

Being around other people and finding a community is a positive thing. The togetherness of family, friends, clubs, and connecting with our neighbors can be encouraging.

When we get older, happiness seems to rise again, probably because we gain more perspective or start prioritizing our relationships more. Understanding this trend and knowing you are not alone can help you through it.

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The happiness curve

The happiness curve

There is increasing evidence that happiness through adulthood is U-shaped.

Life satisfaction falls in our 20s and 30s, then hitting a low in our late 40s before increasing until our 80s....

The midlife slump

That midlife slump (not to be confused with a midlife crisis) is often nothing - just a natural transition due to the passing of time.

Those likely to notice it are people that seem to have everything going for them; they're achieving their goals, and nothing much changed, yet they feel less satisfied than they expected and think there must be something wrong with their lives.

When the U-curve occurs

According to a study by economists, the U-curve is generally noticed at age 46. It tends to appear in wealthier countries.

However, some economists and psychologists factor in the possibility that those who become happier in the studies are the same people who are content in their early years.

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Mid-career crises

A mid-career crisis can happen to anyone. It causes pain to the individual suffering from it and it also leads to productivity losses for employers.

A group of economists researchers found th...

Mid-career crises do not discriminate

The age-related curve in job satisfaction has been found in more than 50 countries. It affects senior-level executives as well as blue-collar workers, stay-at-home parents, childless couples and single people.

Generally, life satisfaction is high when people are young, it starts to decline in the early 30s and is the lowest between mid-40s and mid-50s. Then it increases again to levels as high as during young adulthood.

Life aspirations

  • Young people are overly optimistic and expect significant increases in life satisfaction. 
  • As we age, we become disillusioned as our aspirations evaporate. 
  • When we bottom out, we come to terms with our circumstances and accept life. 
  • People over 50 tend to underestimate their future satisfaction, and increases come as an unexpected surprise, which raises satisfaction levels.

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All areas of your life are affected

When your job is affecting your mental and emotional health, so that anger and depression overwhelm you or bleed over into other areas of your life, it’s time to consider a change.

A toxic workplace

It can have a negative impact on your happiness and job performance.

Studies found that ostracism, bad leadership, harassment, and bullying have direct negative effects on job productivity. Also, being in a job you hate is worse for your health than being unemployed.

Not aligned with your values

If your job is not aligned with your values, you'll end up questioning the possibility of doing it for the next 15, 20, or 30 years.

The good part about it is the fact that this will point you in the right direction, where changes need to be made.

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