If you're a mid-to-late 20-something and feel stressed out beyond belief, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone. Research gathered by the app company Happify shows that this may be the most harrowing point in our lives.
In the above video from the Harvard Business Review, you can see how the emotional well-being of 88,000 users varied by age. Participants reported the highest frequency of negative thoughts and feelings in their mid-to-late 20s, with rates starting to dip as soon as their late 30s. In terms of positive emotions, things look most dismal between the ages of 25 and 34; after that, participants reported increasing levels of positive emotions well into retirement age.
According to The Guardian, an estimated one-third of 20-somethings are affected by depression. The 20s are often characterized as a time free from stress and responsibility, but many factors can make young people feel the opposite. Debt, job dissatisfaction, and the pressure to start a family by a certain deadline can all contribute to a quarter-life crisis.
Researcher and psychology expert Oliver Robinson studied this phenomenon, The Guardian reports, and found that it usually progresses in four stages: an initial feeling of being trapped, followed by hope for change, then a period of restructuring your life, and finally cementing your new values and goals. And according to the latest research, if you can make it through your early life crisis, things go uphill from there.
[h/t Harvard Business Review]