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Our stress levels are actually at their highest in our 20s

We’re often told that our 20s are the ‘best days of our lives’ – as young and care-free individuals.

But, when you think about it, there’s a lot going on during this time.

Whether it’s our final year of uni, starting your first ‘proper job’, drifting from close friends, moving out, career setbacks, getting on the property ladder, or even an identity crisis, our 20s can feel like a particularly turbulent decade. 

So much so, that new research has found that it actually is the most stressful period of our lives.

This means the new study throws the idea of a ‘mid-life crisis’ out the window. Instead, it suggests those aged 20-30 actually experience the highest levels of stress.

Looking at the stress levels of adults aged between 20-70 – over a 20-year period – the research found that the number of stressful events we encounter tends to decrease as we age, with those under 30 reporting the highest levels of stress exposure.

Interestingly, it showed the number of stressful encounters experienced by those in their 50s was halfway between those in their 20s and 70s.

And while 11% was the average reduction in stressful experiences across the whole experiment, younger participants experienced a sharper decline of 47% – which highlights the number of stressful things we face drops dramatically after we reach our 30s.

Of course, it goes without saying that stressful things can happen at any age.

But this study spotlights another interesting factor: that perhaps we simply get better at dealing with stress as we age.

And with April marking Stress Awareness Month, it’s comforting to know that if you’re currently feeling overwhelmed in your 20s right now, things will feel less stressful soon.

How to deal with stress when you have to keep going:

What’s the best way to deal with stress when you have no choice but to keep pushing on in different aspects of life?

  • Take five minutes for yourself every day (this might be enjoying a cup of tea, or listening to your favourite song).
  • Practice meditation.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Give mindful walking a go.
  • Delegate where you can.

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