Happiness 'peaks when people reach the age of 80'

Researchers have found that happiness peaks after the middle-age when people started growing older, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties.
An easing of the responsibilities of middle age combined with maturity and the ability to focus on the things people enjoy combine to make old age far more enjoyable than one might expect.

This is greatly increased by having good health, a stable income and good relationships with family and friends, according to the researchers.

Prof Lewis Wolpert at University College London, who led the study, said most people were "averagely happy" in their teens and twenties, declining until early middle age as they try to support a family and a career.

He was quoted by 'The Daily Telegraph' as saying, "But then, from the mid-forties, people tend to become ever more cheerful and optimistic, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late seventies or eighties."

The study, published by the American National Academy of Sciences, based on a survey of 341,000 people, has revealed that enjoyment of life dwindled throughout early adult- hood but began an upward trend in the late forties, and continued to increase until reaching a peak at 85.

Andrew Steptoe, professor of psychology at University College London, said elderly people today benefit from better health and opportunities now than 30 years ago, adding good health and a secure income were "very important" in old age.

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