In seriously depressing news, people tend to experience their lowest happiness levels between the ages of 40 and 42, according to a recent study conducted by the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor.
For the study, researchers analyzed survey data on life satisfaction at various ages from people 70 years and older. Nationally representative samples from the U.K., Australia, and Germany were included in the study. On average, researchers found that people said they felt the least satisfied in their early forties, which researchers suspect is the time they're most likely to go through a mid-life crisis.
Of course, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine why people's happiness levels may take a plunge during these years. It could be that people find it difficult to accept life at this age, says psychologist Katherine Muller, Psy.D., who was not part of the study. Many major life events—like graduating college, buying a house, and raising a family—happen before the age of 40, so some people struggle with having these milestones behind them, says Muller.
Of course, everyone has high and low points—and in fact, people didbecome happier as the years went on, according to the study. Luckily, you can train yourself to be happier at any age. Start by making these 11 tiny life changes that’ll bring you major bliss.