The poll found that on average 38 was the age at which people felt most content with their lives.
A survey of adults of all ages found that, on average, people were most content with their life at 38.
In general, respondents felt better about themselves in their thirties than when younger, suggesting that it’s “not just wisdom that comes with age”.
Twentysomethings were also more likely to care more about money than their health, and to look enviously at their friends’ lifestyles. They even spent more time fretting about getting old.
Georgia James, Editor of The Huffington Post UK Lifestyle website, which carried out the poll. said: “In a time when the anti-ageing industry reigns supreme, it is refreshing to see evidence that maturity, far from being a negative state, is rather the key to true contentment and inner wellbeing.
“Career, friends and relationships all play a huge part in contributing to our overall wellbeing, so in many ways it’s no surprise to see that it’s only once we begin to find resolution in these areas of life that we can really start to make the most of living.”
The poll of 2,000 British adults, aged 18 and above, found that on average 38 was the age at which people felt most content with their lives.
But among older respondents, happiness reached its peak at 48, “reinforcing a belief that age and experience provide a wealth of benefits”.
An academic study published earlier this year suggested that individuals experience a “u-shaped happiness curve” throughout their lives, with satisfaction increasing in middle age as their careers and families become more stable and they grow more philosophical about their lot.
Those who were married told the new study that they felt happiest at 42, but single people said “true contentment” came at just 27.
Similarly, couples enjoyed social situations the most at 38 while those who never married felt most confident at 27.
Women were most at ease with their bodies at 31, a year later than men, but older respondents felt that sexual confidence did not peak until they turned 35.
Overall, those questioned felt that they achieved a good balance between work and family life at 34 although again older respondents said they made the most of life at 41.
However despite all the evidence that growing old need not mean misery, 40 per cent of Britons said they worried about their advancing years.
The numbers were even higher among those just 18 to 24, “showing that the insecurities and unfounded fears we harbour in our youth may not be worth the worry we assign to them”.
The survey also found that marriage appears to bring greater contentment, as fewer of those who had tied the knot worried about getting old or wanted to swap their lives with that of a friend.