It seems that life is a constant pursuit of happiness, but when do we ever reach true bliss? According to a 2013 study, the closest we’ll likely get to happiness is age 23, and then again at 69. Luckily, there are some scientific ways to increase your wellbeing during all that time in between.
According to the study, life happiness follows a U-shaped curve, steadily plummeting after 23 before plateauing in adulthood and then rising again later in life. For the research, a team from the London School of Economics interviewed 23,000 German adults between the ages of 17 and 85 and asked them how happy they were with their lives, as well as how they predicted they would feel in five years. Then, five years later the same people were asked to report their actual life happiness, Indy100 reported.
These results may be biased by young people’s tendency to overestimate future happiness and older people’s tendency to underestimate future happiness. For example, younger people in the study expected bright futures, whereas in reality their wellbeing decreases with age. However, in old age, volunteers predict their happiness to further plummet whereas in reality it actually increases.
However, if you are neither 23 nor 69, there is still hope for you achieving some kind of happiness. For example, upping the ante in the bedroom may result in increased happiness. The rumors are true; more sex can increase overall happiness, but not for the reason you may think. For example, a study published earlier this year found that it was not the direct act of sex, but rather the time spent cuddling and being affectionate afterwards that led to increased happiness among sexually active couples.
Even if you don’t have a special someone to hop into bed with, simply spending time with those you feel close to and hugging them can boost happiness by increasing levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone” in our brain.
In addition, other simple health tips to help increase happiness at any age include simply eating better. For example, research suggests that eating more fruit and vegetables can actually increase overall happiness. Walking has also been found to improve wellbeing and reduce levels of stress, two key ways to boost joy.