According to new research, the midlife crisis is real, and it’s not just an American thing. Data from several countries shows that happiness reaches a low point at around age 40, then increases again, although it never again reaches the high point of childhood.
Charting Happiness Internationally
For the new study, researchers looked at happiness data from over 50,000 individuals in Australia, Britain, and Germany. Subjects were asked to rate how happy they were on a scale from 0 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied). Early news releases don’t tell us exactly how long the individuals were followed for, but researchers state that they have followed people throughout the evolving years of their life. Data seems to run at least through childhood and up to age 70.
The data showed that happiness was highest during childhood, then decreased until about age 40-42, then increased again, reaching a second, lower peak around age 70. Mathematical analysis was used to confirm that the trends in data were real and not artifacts of researcher bias.
How Should You Respond to a Midlife Crisis?
There are many potential explanations for the midlife crisis, although the authors of this paper offer none. Instead, they only note that having children around did not impact happiness in a positive or negative way.
Others have noted that the decrease in happiness might be related to the fact that people work hardest in the their mid-life. In childhood and in old age, people work less and may have fewer responsibilities. Instead, people in midlife take care of both children and seniors.
Another potential explanation is that people in midlife are experiencing a crisis of direction. Having encountered many of life’s puzzles, they are attempting to determine how best to respond to problems such as work/life balance, increasing health issues, paths in life that were not taken, and other major challenges that they were not aware of as children and have largely resolved by the time they are seniors.
When you find yourself facing a midlife crisis and reevaluating your life and priorities, one positive change you can make is to increase your commitment to the health and beauty of your smile. Taking better care of your oral health can help you enjoy your teeth for the rest of your life. Reconstructive dentistry today can save teeth that might otherwise be lost. And if you have lost one or more teeth, replacing them with dental implants can help preserve other teeth.
And, of course, giving yourself reasons to share a new beautiful smile will make you happier–smiling isn’t just a response to happiness, it makes you happy.