Being ‘middle aged’ may not summon up many positive images for most of us - recent research suggests that this may be a time of life when our state of happiness takes a dip. David Blanchflower at the University of Warwick, found that for both men and women in the UK, the probability of depression peaks at around the age of 44. The good news, however, is that things improve, with people in their 50s emerging from this pattern; by the age of 70 we are likely to be as happy as the average 20 year old.

There are clearly a number of pressures on people during middle age, including, potentially, the financial pressure of children’s higher education, care of older relatives and the increasing pressures of a career reaching its peak. Possibly, there are times when we don’t feel as much in control of the future as we did. Some people may struggle with physical symptoms brought on by the menopause. On the other hand, for many people there is more free time and fewer financial pressures and the opportunity to spend our free time and money on ourselves.  This period of our lives can be one of the least fraught and most creative, provided that we try to approach things positively. Most of are living longer and can look forward to a healthy future.

Making the most of middle age may involve:

  • Looking after your health by eating well and making time for some regular exercise

  • Ensuring you get enough sleep

  • Ensuring that you find time for some of your own interests

  • Spending time with your favourite people

  • Trying some new things that are fun and/or challenging

  • Being yourself rather than acting your age.

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If there are any particular subjects that you would like to see covered in these pages, please contact the well-being team at wellbeing@aston.ac.uk.