This is probably not something you can simply toss around in a bottle or two: feeling the blues.
A new study has established that feeling the blues in your early 40s point out to the existence of a subject that has been questioned over time by many people-- midlife crisis.
Titled "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well-being," the study [pdf] finds that midlife crisis is real, taking the happiness level of both men and women at its lowest from the ages of 40 to 42, after which things begin to pick up again.
The study involves tens of thousands of people up to 70 years old from Britain, Germany and Australia who took time to participate in the surveys. Nattavudh Powdthavee and Andrew J. Oswald, researchers from the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick, were also part of the study. The Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany published the said study.
"We have identified a clear 'U-shape' in human wellbeing. What is interesting is the consistency of the results in all of the three countries we examined. Human happiness hits the lowest point around the ages of 40 to 42" said Dr. Terence Cheng, lead researcher from the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research of the University of Melbourne. "Indeed all the more intriguing is that the U-shape pattern has been recently observed in research on great apes. Perhaps we are more similar than we think?"
Midlife crisis has been a subject of debates and controversies over the years. Other scholars even questioned previous studies. Dr. Cheng, however, is completely sure of the result of their study.
"The jury's now in. People really do experience mid-life crises," Cheng said.
Professor Nick Haslam, though, said that the study only proves what psychologists already know and added that other studies say the late 40s or even early 50s is the low point. Haslam is a psychology professor from the University of Melbourne.
"It's not like you turn 40 and you suddenly buy the sports car or, if you are a guy, look for the young blonde," said Haslam. "All of a sudden you can be caught looking after children and aged parents, people at both ends of the life course." Experts say that this situation could disappoint people. Things improve as those once little children learn independence or when people make peace with their limitations in life.
Haslam also said there can be or can't be a crisis for some people and cited an example.
Though the Professor said that more than stereotyping old men and women as grumpy, the study is a confirmation that people are indeed going to be happier and more satisfied.