Why the mid-life crisis is a myth: Life (and happiness) really does begin at 40, it turns out

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
Porsche Brand Ambassador Maria Sharapova At The  'Taste Of Paris' Event In Paris
Buying a Porsche isn't going to make you happier... (Source: Getty)

Thinking of buying a sports car? Stop: mid-life crisis is no longer an excuse, after a new study found people's happiness tends to rise as they progress through life - suggesting the mid-life crisis is actually a myth.

The 25-year study, by the University of Alberta, found happiness tends to keep rising into people's 40s - albeit while taking into account life experience, such as divorce or unemployment.

The researchers asked two groups - one ranging in age between 18 and 43, and one between 23 and 37 - a single question: how happy are you with your life right now?

The conclusion suggested there is an overall upward trajectory of happiness which begins in our teens and early 20s.

"I think it's important to question conclusions that have already been drawn about mid-life happiness," said psychologist Nancy Galambos, one of the researchers.

But the study did point out that certain experiences can weigh on happiness.

"If I'm divorced and unemployed, and I have poor health at age 43, I'm not going to be happier than I was at age 18. It's important to recognise the diversity of experiences as people move across life," Galambos added. Well, quite.

Still, if you're struggling to find much inner joy, perhaps it's time to go shopping. A study published last year showed that contrary to the old adage, money can buy you happiness - if you spend it on material possessions, at least.

The research, published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, found material possessions create happiness over a longer term than experiences do. So maybe it's worth buying that sports car after all...

Related articles