Health

Here's Some Good News for Everyone Who Hates Their 20s

Published On 08/25/2016 Published On 08/25/2016
young man 20s depressed
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

You're broke. Your hangovers are getting worse. And you're so worried about the future of your career, you overcompensate by downing tequila shots at happy hour and buying a new car you can't afford. Yep, being in your 20s isn't nearly as glamorous and stress-free as you imagined they would be when you were a young, naive teen. But even for people who feel overwhelmed by their insurmountable student loan debt and dead-end love life, there is good news: It gets better.

No seriously, it does. The state of your well-being and mental health improve as you get older, according to a new study -- in an ironic twist, the researchers apparently forgot how terrible it is to be young, because they titled their study, "Paradoxical Trend for Improvement in Mental Health With Aging." They must have figured things like a faster metabolism and lack of joint pain were enough to keep young people happy.

In fact, they found the opposite; of those who were surveyed, the people in their 20s were the most stressed out and depressed. The folks in their 90s, on the other hand, were the most content, even with things like loss of loved ones, a decline in health, and the aforementioned joint pain and slower metabolism to worry about.

Maybe the best news of all is that people seem to experience a steady increase in overall happiness as they age; researchers didn't find a drop in middle aged people's sense of well-being. So maybe buying that Corvette really DOES help! Whatever the individual factors, the older people got, the better their mood, outlook on life, and handle on stress all were. The grumpy old man trope is more fiction than fact.  

So stop dreading each upcoming birthday. You might be another year closer to gray hair and busted knees, but at least you'll be happier about it. 

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Christina Stiehl is a Health and Fitness Staff Writer for Thrillist. She still cries on her birthday every year. Follow her third-life crisis: @ChristinaStiehl.

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