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Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

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Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

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PsychNotes Index

More PsychNotes: Happiness and Well-being

Not Happy? Just Wait...
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

Life satisfaction and happiness tends to increase from the late teens through the late 30s (Galambos, et al., 2015). Such a statement tends to go against the generally held belief that people are happier in their youth. In fact, even previous research tended to show that happiness decreased from late adolescence through mid-adulthood.

Why are the results different for this study? And why should this study be believed to be more accurate? Because this study shows the importance of not relying upon memory when asking about past happiness. Frequently, people's memories are distorted, and therefore, not reliable. Instead of asking people about the past, this research followed a group of people over a period of 15-20 years periodically asking them about the present: “Thinking about your life in general, how happy are you with your life?” This allowed a direct comparison of different points in each subject's life. Research that follows people over time is more accurate than relying upon memory.

Understanding that life gets better can be critical for many young people who experience depression due to life circumstances. Too often they hear statements such as “The best time of my life was high school” or “Life only gets more demanding” which can be quite discouraging for someone already depressed. If, instead, they understood that their circumstances are temporary and that life can improve, they can use that hope to cope and continue on.

To learn ways to bring more happiness into your life, take Your Happiness Assessment.

Galambos, N.L., Fang, S., Krahn, H.J., Johnson, M.D., Lachman, M.E. (2015). Up, Not Down: The Age Curve in Happiness From Early Adulthood to. Midlife in Two Longitudinal Studies. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1664–1671 DOI: 10.1037/dev0000052

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