Life starts at 40….or does it? While some people might already living their best life in their 40s, others are feeling miserable as muck wondering what has become of their life. But wait for it…apparently being in our late 40s is the most miserable time in our lives. Now there’s something to look forward to…..NOT! Damn it, I thought I would be swinging by the chandeliers by then. So is finding happiness in your 40s a total pipe dream? Or can we still take life by the balls and throw a big two fingers up in the face of the midlife slump.
Well good news people because yes, happiness in your 40s feels as the scarlett pimpernell, here Andy Cope and Paul McGee – authors of The Happiness Revolution – share their top tips for finding happiness in your 40s – this summer and beyond. Taken from the science of wellbeing, here’s how to have the best summer of your entire life that will help you feel fiendishly fantastic rather than flat as a pancake.
Human beings are wired for emotional contagion. Your feelings and attitudes will spread. In holiday terms, if you have small children, they will be as happy in Margate as they are in Miami. So long as you are!
Similarly, one negative family member will lower the tone of the entire holiday party. Top tip: make sure it’s not you!
The $64,000 question
According to an esteemed researcher at the University of London’s Institute of Education, here are some monetary values of happiness:
- Seeing friends and relatives is equivalent to a pay rise of £64k a year
- Chatting to nice neighbours is worth £37k a year
- Getting married is worth £50k a year
- And the biggy? Excellent health is estimated to be worth £300k a year to you
Hopefully you can tick some of those boxes, in which case, you are enjoying ‘mental wealth’. Whatever the summer brings you, be grateful.
Happiness is Maximized at 57°F
Weird I know, but the American Meteorological Society found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so, technically, point number 1 is bang on – you’re more likely to find happiness in Margate than Miami!
‘Musterbating’ is when you turn things you’d like to have into things you absolutely MUST have. Every advert on the TV is designed to make you unhappy with what you currently own, luring you to Amazon to spend money on products that will make you happy. Mr Postie’s next day delivery does indeed create a spike of happiness, for an hour or two, before you’re back online seeking another hit.
So here’s an interesting list to write… the top 10 happiest moments of your life. I’ll wager that most of your top 10 happiest moments are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. So, to squeeze maximum happiness from your summer, throw yourself into experiences (picnics, BBQs, walks, swims, bike rides, pub lunches, sandcastles, hugs…)
The Japanese call it ‘shinrin-yoku’. We call it ‘going for a walk’. A study from the University of Sussex found that being outdoors made people happier: “Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.”
To be fair, no University degree is required. The point is obvious; fresh air – lots of it – makes us feel fab. Top tip, while you’re out and about, walk with your sense open. Bathe yourself in mother nature.
Be the Pied Piper of Happiness
Your emotions are contagious – they leak out of you and ‘infect’ those around you. So, when you make the conscious choice to be positive and upbeat, other people will catch your good vibes. So, top tip, be enthusiastic for 4 minutes and everyone else will feel great too!
This is especially important if you’re camping in the rain. It only takes one idiot (you!) to be enthusiastically jumping in puddles and, before you know it, the entire campsite is doing the same. When you are old and prune-like, you will look back on your life and realise that these ‘little moments’ were, in fact, the best bits of your life.
So here’s to happiness in your 40s and saying no to being miserable and middle aged this summer and beyond!
Dr Andy Cope and Professor Paul McGee have combined forces to pen THE HAPPINESS REVOLUTION: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life (published by Capstone, June 2021). It’s the perfect summer read. It won’t change the world, but it’ll certainly change yours.
About the Authors
DR ANDY COPE is the UK’s first ever Dr of Happiness. He has a passion for motivation and positive psychology and strives to influence people to think differently. He founded Art of Brilliance in 2004 to blaze a new trail – one that was non-academic, totally rooted in the real world and that would make a massive and immediate impact on individuals and organisations. Andy is a sought-after keynote speaker, bestselling author, and authority on happiness, motivation, and human flourishing
PROF PAUL MCGEE is a visiting professor at the University of Chester and is one of Europe’s leading speakers on the subject of change, resilience, wellbeing, and communication. His book SUMO became a Sunday Times best seller and his book on Self Confidence reached number one in the WHSmith’s business chart and remained there for a further 24 weeks. His books have sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast television and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio.