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Happiness peaks in our eighties

28 Mar 2011 | Daily Telegraph

Traditional wisdom states that our younger years are the best of our lives, with the milestone of 40 meaning we are "over the hill" and already on the wane.

But in fact satisfaction and optimism steadily increase after middle age, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties, according to research.

An easing of the responsibilities of middle age combined with maturity and the ability to focus on the things we 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 scientists.

Lewis Wolpert, emeritus professor of biology at University College London, who explained the findings in a new book called You're Looking Very Well, 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.

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