Worry and Sadness Hit Record Highs Worldwide

New research shows that around the world, people have not been sadder or worried more in over a decade. These are described as “negative experiences” in the survey, which include physical pain, worry, sadness, stress and anger. The survey covers data collected for 2018.

In a new Gallup poll, negative experiences among those queried reached 30 on Gallup’s scale of 1 to 100. The figure was as low as 23 in 2007. It has risen consistently since 2014. Gallup’s observations are based on information from 142 countries. The basis of the score was if those asked “had five different negative experiences on the day before the survey. More than one in three people said they experienced a lot of worry (39%) or stress (35%), and three in 10 experienced a lot of physical pain (31%). At least one in five experienced sadness (24%) or anger (22%).”

The good news is that overall stress levels dropped by 2% from 2017 — you can read about the most stressed out city in every state here.

Experiences of physical pain remained unchanged. But anger increased by two points, hitting a new high. Worry and sadness, which were already at record high levels, also increased, each by 1% from 2017. All three — anger, sadness and constant worry — can be signs of a serious health problem.

Source: Courtesy of Gallup

Source: Courtesy of Gallup

At the other end of the spectrum, those who had positive experiences ticked up slightly to a score of 70 from 69 in 2017. This score consistently has been 69 to 71 since 2008. Positive experiences include a lot of enjoyment (71%), feeling well-rested (72%), smiled or laughed a lot (74%) and feeling treated with respect (87%). Also included were those who said that “they learned or did something interesting the day” before the interview. Some 49% of respondents answered yes.

Among those who were sad, in pain, under stress or angry, the variation by nation was tremendous. Chad topped the negative part of the Gallup list with a score of 54. Niger and Sierra Leone were next, tied at 50, then Iraq at 49 and Iran at 48. Many of the nations on the negative end of the list are located in central Africa. Among them, Uganda, Togo, Morocco and Congo all posted scores of 43. Many of these nations are politically unstable, and several are plagued by violence and hunger. While the United States did not make the lists of countries with the most negative or positive experience, it, too, has a problem with violence, and these are the most dangerous states in America.

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