This Is The Age We Can Expect To Be Happiest, According To People Who’ve Been There

Photographed by Eylül Aslan
Happiness is a subjective concept that we all define slightly differently. It can take the form of a fleeting moment of joy, or a more prolonged feeling of contentment and pleasure. It can also seem elusive: even when we feel reasonably pleased with the way life is going, "happiness guilt" can come along and dim our shine.
According to a new study published in the Social Indicators Research journal, we can expect to be happiest between the ages of 30 and 34. The study came to this conclusion by asking people over 50 from 13 European countries about the periods of their life in which they felt the most content.
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However, the study also found – encouragingly – that happiness doesn't necessarily take a nosedive after this period in the early thirties.
"I find that the probability of achieving the happiest period in life evolves systematically with age," writes author Begoña Álvarez. "The probability increases sharply from childhood to the ages of 30–34, when it reaches the maximum. At this point it is important to remark that individuals’ happiest periods are long on average: for half of respondents this period lasts two decades or longer."
Álvarez continues: "Therefore, a more precise reading of the previous finding is that the early 30s is the stage of life with the highest chances of belonging to the happiest period in life, though the probability also remains relatively high at adjacent ages and declines as individuals grow older."
The study also found that people are least likely to feel happy between the ages of 10 to 14 – which will chime with anyone who had a difficult puberty – and after the age of 70.
It's worth nothing, though, that the results could be affected by a kind of rose-tinted glasses syndrome, whereby people look back on certain periods of their life with greater fondness than they felt at the time.
In our early thirties, many of us make significant life decisions about our future working and living arrangements – and maybe even decide to "settle down". At the time, these decisions can feel incredibly stressful, but with the benefit of hindsight they could feel like happy milestones.
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Still, it's pretty reassuring to hear that happiness could peak – and stay at a similar level – from our early thirties onwards.

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