Middle-Aged Unhappiness

Ph.D., CPsychol., AFBPsS, Health Professional

They say that two of the key factors in living to a ripe old age are health and happiness. Unfortunately it appears there’s something of a hurdle to get over before old age is enjoyed and that’s being middle-aged. According to some of the latest research many people in the middle-age category are experiencing the most anxious and unhappy period in their lives.

People in their middle years often have huge demands placed upon them. It can be a time of rude awakenings when those early hopes and dreams come to a halt. The opportunities for promotion, extra income, perhaps even a different lifestyle, is moderated by the reality of the situation. Apart from work demands people in their middle years often have competing family responsibilities. Children or young adults frequently need ongoing emotional and financial support, but there is often an added responsibility with caring for elderly parents. Quite simply the need to balance work and family commitments is demanding, time consuming, stressful and quite costly.

The Office for National Statistics (UK) recently reported findings from a sample of 300,000 adults. Four measures of personal wellbeing were measured including how satisfied people were with their lives, whether they felt what they did was worthwhile, and their levels of anxiety and unhappiness. These measures were lowest in middle-aged people and anxiety levels reached their peak. Interestingly, happiness and a sense that life is worthwhile seem to peak in people around the ages of 65 to 79 years. Measures do decline after this age and this is partly related to illness and loneliness in old age.

People are living longer and the good news seems to be that those who cross the 90+ age threshold have some of the highest satisfaction ratings. I can hardly waitSee More Helpful Articles

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