The analytics company Gallup recently announced the results of a global survey that measures people’s attitudes to life. The report found that people are sadder, angrier, and more worried than ever before. Surely, that can’t be good!
For the Global State of Emotions report, Gallup in 2018 conducted more than 151,000 interviews with people living in more than 140 countries. Gallup asked people questions about their feelings on the previous day. People were asked if they smiled or laughed a lot, and whether they felt sadness or anger.
Gallup's Positive Experience Index questions were:
- Did you feel well-rested yesterday?
- Were you treated with respect all day yesterday?
- Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?
- Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?
- Did you experience enjoyment yesterday?
Gallup's Negative Experience Index questions are:
- Did you experience physical pain a lot of the day yesterday?
- Did you experience worry during a lot of the day yesterday?
- Did you experience sadness during a lot of the day yesterday?
- Did you experience stress during a lot of the day yesterday?
- Did you experience anger during a lot of the day yesterday?
Gallup found that the number of people who said they’d experienced anger increased by two per cent over the previous year, while both worry and sadness increased by one per cent. For Gallup this was a new high for the three negative emotions.
Gallup says it does the study to give the world’s governments ‘an insight into the health of their societies that they cannot gather from just economic measures’. For example, even as the US economy was growing, more Americans were more stressed, angry and worried’.
The findings …
71 per cent of people worldwide said they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before the survey. Paraguay was the happiest country with 85 per cent of Paraguay residents saying they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before. Afghanistan was the least happiest place with only 43 of Afghans able to find enjoyment in the previous day. In Australia, 73 per cent of residents said they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before the survey.
In terms of outright sadness, you need to go to west Africa. 54 per cent of people in Chad were sad, followed by 49 per cent in Niger, 47 per cent in Liberia and 46 per cent in Sierra Leone. Sweden was the least sad country with only 12 per cent reporting that emotion on the previous day. Only 17 per cent of Aussies reported sadness.
Armenia was a very grouchy place with 45 per cent of people reporting anger. Iraq, Palestine and Turkey also had anger levels above 40 per cent. Australia and Paraguay were both cruisy countries with only 10 per cent of the population feeling anger on the previous day. In case you are wondering Mexico is the least angry place on the globe with only 8 per cent of people feeling anger.
If you want to meet stress heads, head to Greece. Now that surprised me. 59 per cent of people in the global tourist hotspot are sad. The Philippines is also a stressed land, with 59 per cent of the population feeling stressed. Turkmenistan (10 per cent) and Indonesia (13 per cent) are the least stressed lands. Australia seems pretty stressed with 35 per cent of people reporting the emotion.
The most worrisome places are again in Africa. Given Africa has some of the poorest lands in the world, this can hardly be surprising. 65 per cent of people in Mozambique and 61 per cent in Chad are worried. In Taiwan, the population is worry free with just 12 per cent of the population having any cares. In Australia, 28 per cent of people worry.
In terms of physical pain I’m afraid it was again Africa that scored highly. 66 per cent of the people in Chad had experienced physical pain the day before, 62 per cent in Sierra Leone and 56 per cent in Gambia. Vietnam and Northern Cyprus appear to be relatively pain free with only 14 per cent and 15 per cent of people feeling physical pain. 23 per cent of Australians reported physical pain.
If you are looking for a good rest, head straight to Mongolia, where 86 per cent of people feel well rested. This is closely followed by Indonesia where 85 per cent of people are rested. Meanwhile over in Kuwait only 28 per cent of the population is rested while 71 per cent claim to be tired. In Australia 71 per cent of us are well rested.
If you are looking for respect, you need to head to South America. 97 per cent of people in Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay are treated with respect. In Afghanistan there seems to be a lack of respect with only 48 per cent of people respected. In Australia 93 per cent of people are respected.
Health impacts of the rise in negative emotions
The rise in negative feelings around the world could impact on people’s physical health. Previous studies have linked anger to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Worry and sadness can lead to anxiety disorders and depression, which also increase the risk of heart disease. If people continue to experience negative emotions in larger numbers, the world could be headed toward a future where the population is increasingly unhealthy.
It’s up to you to feel happy!
As an individual you should attempt to care for your mental health and work to avoid negative emotions like anger, sadness, worry and pain. Look to enhance feelings of happiness, enjoyment and being well rested. Just think, if you are happy you are adding to the world’s happiness scale.
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ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.