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Finding Happiness in a Stressful World

Can you be happy and stressed at the same time?

I came across this fascinating graphic from JP Morgan and could not help but ponder this question.

PEAKS IN STRESS AND HAPPINESS By most measures all of us as humans have some degree of stress in our lives and hopefully, a lot of happiness. Afterall, what is life and how do you find joy and purpose without some degree of happiness in your life? The chart above shows that stress peaks around age 32 and happiness is at its lowest at age 46. What is happening here and how does it relate to work, family and retirement?

Truthfully, I am surprised by this in a way. Some of the happiest and least stressed people I know work until late in their lives. These people are working in careers that give them purpose and a sense of fulfillment. Yet the chart indicates that retirement leads to more time and therefore more fulfillment. For years I have heard stories about individuals who fall ill or die shortly after retirement. Their bodies had this internal sense that there was nothing else to do or work towards. In a society where we are worked to the bone, our identities and sense of self- worth becomes tied to our jobs so how do we escape this and find joy, healthiness and meaning so that we reduce stress and find happiness? FINDING BALANCE IN WORK AND LIFE I believe that we must find balance as early as we can so that we can reduce stress and find consistent levels of happiness. This will carry beyond our working years and help us transition into a more enjoyable and meaningful retirement. By no means is this easy but with balance we can find activities that give us a sense of pride and fulfillment while offsetting the natural stress of work.

We must work everyday to get better at the things that make us happy. With this in mind, I want to self-reflect.

  • What makes me happy:

  • Being the best husband, I can to my wife. Always have a pet in my life.

  • Trying to be present to my daughter and soon to be born son.

  • Intentionally find time to be with close family and friends.

  • Giving (financially and time) to causes that are important to me and those around me.

  • Providing meaningful advice and peace of mind to my clients.

  • Staying physically active and eating healthy so I can live a long healthy life.

  • Listen to those around me and keep on smiling. Now your turn. What makes you happy, gives you a sense of purpose and does money play a role?

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