I love the debate that ensues in the office following the release of a major piece of research and often the racier headline grabbing Omnibus studies too.
Even when the study is seriously robust, like the data released last week by the Office for National Statistics on personal wellbeing, it is human nature to query the findings, relate it to your own life and of course comment.
According to this recent study, I am doomed. Not just for a short time. But, for the next 20 to 30 years, when life just might start to look up again!
The report analyses data for 300,000 adults in the UK, so certainly not a lightweight sample, collected over three years from 2012 to 2015. Researchers asked about how satisfied people were with their lives, if they felt what they did was worthwhile and levels of anxiety and happiness.
Anxiety levels rise from the age of 16, pretty steadily until 59, when they begin to drop again. Life satisfaction seems to peak between the ages of 16-19 and again between the ages of 65-80. With happiness following a similar pattern.
Feeling that what you do in life is worthwhile shows a positive rise for those aged 60-74 before it starts to wane back to pre-60 levels once you hit 80.
Rather gloomily for me, it transpires that on average people between the ages of 45 to 59, have the lowest ratings for life satisfaction and happiness combined with the highest anxiety levels.
But of course, these are just statistics, a snapshot of the population, and not necessarily me. It doesn’t mean that everyone within a certain age group is happy, unhappy, full of self-worth or anxious it is just an indication of feeling. It doesn’t have to be me…!
For sure, I worry about things in my life. But then I think I have always worried about things. And the same as most people I have days when everything goes just right and I am on cloud nine and other days when it is the complete opposite. To me that’s part of life and I am fortunate enough to have many more good days than bad.
I think that ‘wellbeing’ is an interesting word. One that seems to be increasingly adopted across a raft of sectors and conversations.
In the office, we often talk about wellbeing pr and perhaps narrowly equate this to living healthily through diet and exercise but it has much more substance than this.
Wellbeing can mean so many different things to different people, and is actually quite a personal word. What is top of the wellbeing chart for one person could well be at the bottom for another.
I remember my parents wishing friends health, wealth and happiness every New Year, and perhaps these are still the mainstay elements of wellbeing.
But as we live longer, have so much more knowledge about everything good and bad, take on more responsibilities with elder dependents, desire more stuff, strive for fitness etc etc etc. Wellbeing has perhaps got complicated!
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