Stress and anxiety are factors that bring clients to massage therapy. But new research shows once a person reaches age 50, stress and attendant factors drop significantly.

Researchers from Stony Brook University, Columbia University Medical Center and Princeton University conducted a phone interview with more than 340,000 people in the U.S. to determine two things: global well-being, which includes a person’s overall appraisal of his or her life; and affective state, or current feelings.

Among the results:

• Stress and anger steeply declined from the early 20s

• Worry was elevated through middle age and then declined

• Sadness was essentially flat.

“Unlike a prior study, men and women had very similar age profiles of [global well-being],” the researchers noted. They added that self-assessed global and present feelings of well-being increase at midlife, and deserve more study.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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