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At Which Age Are We Happiest?

The answer may surprise you, but we've got five tips for boosting your bliss at any age.

| August 16th, 2011
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At Which Age Are We Happiest?

It’s no big surprise that happiness is at an all-time high when we’re young. According to a recent study, when we’re in our twenties, our cheerfulness comes from optimism about what the future holds. After that, our happiness levels tend to take a hit as we’re faced with real life challenges: entering the work force and raising a family.

But it’s not all downhill from there. The same study found that bliss levels rebound by around age 60. That may be because we’re more accepting of ourselves and satisfied with our achievements. Apparently, with age comes wisdom as well as a new, much cooler attitude: contentment.

The research, conducted at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands, followed nearly 45,000 people of all ages for 23 years, sampling their levels of happiness each year. Amazingly, the researchers found that these feelings of joyful fulfillment start to perk up again around age 60. And the sense of happiness that people experience in their sixties is just as strong as it was in their carefree twenties.

"When you look at the 65-year-old and 25-year-old, they have the same levels of happiness,” researcher Bert Van Landeghem said in a statement. “But the 65-year-old wouldn't want to live the life of a 25-year-old; their life aspirations have changed."

QUIZ: How Happy Are You?

Whether you’re 25 or 65 or somewhere in between, you can take steps to boost your bliss. Try these five tried and true happiness tips from our YouBeauty experts:

1. Take a beauty break Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen recommend taking a moment to enjoy a stunning sunset, a stroll around an interesting sculpture, peak at NASA’s jaw-dropping astronomy picture of the dayor even just close your eyes and turn up the radio when an upbeat song comes on. Reveling in moving, beautiful moments breaks up your routine with a burst of joy. In their book, “You: Being Beautiful,” the doctors describe the sensation of awe as something so inspiring, “it's an experience in which we feel—really feel, deep in our solar plexus—as if the world is bigger than us.”

MORE: Tips for Happiness, from Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen

2. Dig into some comfort food There’s a reason you reach for a scoop of ice cream or some mac n’ cheese after a crummy day. A recent study by the University of Buffalo found that comfort food helps reduce loneliness. When you bite into your favorite dish, you’re flooded with soothing memories that are even sweeter than the dish itself. In addition to those warm, fuzzy feelings, the high carb content found in most guilty pleasure foods triggers your brain to release serotonin, which increases feelings of happiness. But that’s no excuse to down a pint of ice cream in one sitting. Research shows that simply writing about your favorite comfort foods from childhood can help banish loneliness and cheer you up—without taking a single bite.

THIS STUDY, EXPLAINED: Comfort Foods Reduce Loneliness

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