It is probably hard to truly define when a person is at their happiest. Some people believe that happiness is associated with youth; for others, it comes with the wisdom of age. It turns out that both of these answers are correct.
A study has found that happiness is most likely to occur at two stages in life. Specifically, at age 23 and age 69.
Researchers say there’s a reason the journey of happiness follows a U-shaped curve — taking a nose dive after you turn 23 years of age and skyrocketing upward toward a blissful state during the later years of life. It’s because young people overestimate their futures and typically expect a cheery, bright road ahead, when in fact their well-being decreases as they get older. And older people, who’ve weathered disappointments in life, generally believe they will be less happy as they age. But in reality, their happiness and satisfaction with life increases as they get older.
A team from the London School of Economics got this data by interviewing 23,000 German adults between the ages of 17 and 85. The study group was asked how content they were with their lives and to predict how they thought they would feel five years later. When five years had passed, the research team checked in with the same individuals and asked them to report their level of happiness.
3 Ways to Stay Happy
There are four fabulous decades of life between your twenties and sixties. They represent such a huge chunk of the journey of life, a long time to be in search of happiness. And while what personally makes people happy can vary and depend on what elements are most important to one’s quality of life, experts agree there are three simple ways to help keep the happiness flowing through that monumental age gap.
Have More Sex
Having an active and healthy sex life is key to increasing overall happiness. It’s not so much the sex itself, but what women have been vocal about for decades — the quality time spent cuddling and being affectionate after sex that creates a blissful state, according to a study. Even if you don’t have a significant other to get cozy with, spending quality time with people you feel close to and giving them hugs can boost happiness levels. That’s because intimacy increases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, within our brains.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
It’s true that eating better doesn’t just do your body good. Research shows that eating more fruits and vegetables also improves your overall happiness levels by positively affecting your mood. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why fruits and veggies make us feel better, but many believe it’s because of the antioxidants in healthy foods. People with higher intake of antioxidants, also known as carotenoids, have been found to be more optimistic about their future, according to a study. Carotenoids give certain fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes and kale their coloring.
Take Frequent Walks
Walking is a natural wonder drug for your body. Not only is it low impact so it’s easy on your body and knees, but also can improve your overall well being and reduce stress levels. Taking a 20 to 30 minute walk can have the same calming effect as a mild tranquilizer because it triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the powerful brain chemicals that alleviate pain and promote relaxation. The higher your endorphin levels, the calmer and ultimately happier you will be.
Ronke Idowu Reeves is a writer and journalist who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her news and entertainment stories have appeared on WABC-TV-New York, Fox News Channel, VH1, BET.com plus in Sundance Film Festival’s Sundance Daily Insider and People Magazine.