Ride the U-Curve of Happiness

MEAx Australia | Ride the U-Curve of Happiness | 27th October 2021

In his bestselling book, “The Happiness Curve,” renowned journalist Jonathon Rauch suggests that happiness through adulthood follows a U-shaped trajectory, waning from the heady optimism of youth into a low trough through our forties (due to a combination of too many responsibilities, realisations around unmet dreams, and a growing awareness of our mortality), before rising again in our fifties and reaching a peak at the end of life. This U-curve of happiness is based on studies conducted by economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald who found evidence to support the fact that happiness through adulthood is U-shaped – a perplexing phenomenon also known as the paradox of aging. Perplexing because it is in direct contrast to the societal narrative.

In an interview for The Guardian, Rauch said, “what we’re talking about here is not that the conditions of your life change in some huge way, but how you feel about your life changes.” Research shows that older people feel less stress and regret, dwell less on negative information and are better able to regulate their emotions. They also stop comparing themselves to others as much. Priorities shift from competition to connection. Values change. “You hear people say, ‘I don’t feel the need to check those boxes anymore’, or ‘I don’t care that much what other people think’.” In other words, around 50, we tend to reconfigure our expectations of life.

At MEAx one of our core objectives is to reframe midlife from a crisis to a calling. To help promote the pleasures of aging and help navigate the twists and turns on the roadmap of life. Aging is just another word for living and growing older really is worth the wait!

Stay curious,
The MEAx Team

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