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The clichéd ‘midlife crisis’ isn’t a myth, according to a new study.
Experts believe the unhappiness linked to leaving our youth behind is a completely real thing, that could actually be down to our genetics.
A study led by Professor David Blanchflower CBE – a former Bank of England Economist – is said to have pinpointed the exact age that midlife misery sets in.
According to the Dartmouth College Professor of Economics, the precise age of peak unhappiness in the developed world as 47.2 years old.
Professor Blanchflower studied data across 132 countries to measure the relationship between wellbeing and age.
He found that in almost every country there is a U-shaped lifetime “happiness curve” which stoops lowest in developed nations, like the US and UK, at age 47.2 years old and in still developing countries at 48.2 years old.
Professor David has explained how other research could indicate a genetic link between age and misery.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he explained that another research paper, which had interviewed the keepers of monkeys, found a similar trend among primates.
“Something very natural is going on here. Maybe there’s something in the genes.
“When you have this pattern in 132 countries, the reality is, it was really hard to not find it.”
Meanwhile, he also explained, “This [average age of misery] could be linked to a breakdown in social relations that come with middle age such as marriages coming to an end, women having children out of wedlock. That social backup is not there anymore.”
It’s not all bad news though, as it was also found that happiness levels shoot back up after we say goodbye to our 40s and 50s.
In fact, happiness at levels experienced in our 20s often return when we reach our 70s. And of course, we’re likely to experience many years of happiness before then!
Don’t forget, that your later decades can hold all kind of brilliant things – newfound freedom, grandchildren, and a chance to reinvent yourself.
So despite the warnings from this study, we reckon your fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and beyond, decades, are all something to be happy about.