Life

This is the optimum age for happiness in the UK

Posted by
Harriet Hall
Published

Sure, things were pretty dandy when we lived at our parents’ houses and had home-cooked meals and a personal laundrette at our finger tips – those were some happy times.

And, if we’re honest, things took a slight decline when we started having to pay rent, battle the morning commute and actually work for a living.

So what is the happiest age of all?

According to a new survey, of over 3000,000 adults across the UK, 65-79 is the happiest age group.

Hurrah, there’s time for improvement.

The survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, asked people to rate their happiness and anxiety levels out of 10, how satisfied they felt generally in life, and how much they considered their life ‘worthwhile.’

happy

65-79 year-olds are the happiest age group

According to the results, life satisfaction was highest in 65-79 year-olds - perhaps because they were retired and had more time to focus on activities they enjoyed.

However, satisfaction was reported to decline at 80 – which researchers suggest is due to poor health and loneliness.

 

Those aged 45-59 were the least satisfied age group, reporting the highest levels of anxiety. In this group, men scored lower than women for life satisfaction.

The BBC report that research attributed this to the age group that are most likely to carry the dual pressures of caring for their children, and caring for their elderly relatives.

The study found that several factors contributed to happiness, including relationships (where married people were found to be the happiest – even more than co-habiting couples) and career (where employed people happier than the unemployed, but part-time workers coming up top).

work

People who worked are happier than those who don't

Hindus were the happiest on average out of all religious groups, and atheists were found to be the least happy.

When it came to gender, women were found to be the most anxious, but were also more likely to report higher life satisfaction than men.

Another study, whose results have also just been released, investigated the three primary lessons about happiness.

Conducted over 77 years by Harvard University, the study began in 1938 and involved 724 men.

Half of the group went to fight in WWII and the other half came from one of Boston’s most disadvantaged areas at that time.

All men were surveyed every two years and underwent medical exams.

Professor Waldinger of the university discussed his findings at a recent TED talk, and revealed that strong relationships are the most important factor when it came to happiness.

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: good relationships keep us happier and healthier: period,” he says.  

pursuit

Relationships are the most important factor when it comes to happiness

He narrowed it down to three key areas which influence our happiness: loneliness, quality of relationships and strength of relationship.

While being lonely can cause depression and early death, being surrounded by people wasn’t necessarily a positive thing. Professor Waldinger said that only positive relationships would have a positive effect upon our wellbeing, saying:

 “We know that you can be lonely in a crowd and lonely in a marriage.”

Equally, Waldinger says that being able to rely on the other person was hugely important, even if you occasionally bickered: a natural ingredient in all relationships.

Ultimately, Waldinger says that: “Living in the midst of good warm relationships is protective.”

Topics

Share this article

Author

Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall is a former Stylist contributor.

Other people read

More from Life

More from Harriet Hall