47.2

A Dartmouth economist has pegged what he claims is the most miserable age: 47.2 years old. A new study by David Blanchflower, collecting data about well-being and age from 132 countries, suggests that for people in developed nations, the “happiness curve” reaches its perigee at precisely 47.2 years. Those are the doldrums of middle age.

For someone like me who feels plenty of middle-aged misery but is not yet 47.2, this statistic is daunting! I’m not gonna see an upswing for another 2.14 years? I decided to talk to some actual 47.2-year-olds to find out what it is about 47.2-hood that’s so miserable, and how I can escape their horrible fate.

Dan Kois, Slate

‘I never had stress’

“As far as I am concerned, stress is a manufactured thing,” Dr. Ellsworth Wareham told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2015 as part of a Vital Signs special on blue zones.

Wareham was 100 years old at the time and still mowed his front yard.

“I never had stress,” said Wareham, a life-long Seventh-day Adventist. “I have a philosophy: You do the best you can. And the things you can’t do anything about, don’t give any thought to them.”

A heart surgeon by trade, Wareham assisted in surgeries until he was 95 years old, and told Gupta that he would still be able to operate at the age of 100.

Sandee LaMotte, What this sunny, religious town in California teaches us about living longer

Thoughts and How You Feel

In fact, your thoughts often have much more to do with how you feel than what is actually happening in your life.

This isn’t a new idea. Nearly two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, stated that people are disturbed “not by things, but by the views we take of them.” In the Book of Proverbs (23: 7) in the Old Testament you can find this passage: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” And even Shakespeare expressed a similar idea when he said: “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2).

Burns M.D., David D.. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy