Are you still having bouts of stress, sadness, anger, and at times unexplained pain two-plus years into the pandemic? You’re certainly not by yourself.
All of these emotions reached new record highs worldwide last year and into the early part of 2022, according to the latest Global Emotions Report, Gallup’s annual measuring of our well-being.
The report which surveyed 127,000 adults in 122 countries and regions around the world said this current stretch has replaced 2020 as the most stressful period in recent history. About 42% of respondents say they’re experiencing a lot more worry, a 2% increase from 2020, and stress (41%) on a daily basis, also up from 2020.
Gallup’s report, released Tuesday, comes about two weeks after software giant Oracle released a happiness report that concluded nearly half of people worldwide are still unhappy more than two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why are we so stressed?
The rise of global unhappiness focuses on three key issues: the lack of well-being at work, COVID-induced loneliness, and global hunger.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wrote in USA TODAY in April that Russia’s war on Ukraine “could throw up to 1.7 billion people – over one-fifth of humanity – into poverty, destitution and hunger on a scale not seen in decades.”
“The crisis in Ukraine is exacerbating matters around the world, no question,” said Gallup CEO Jon Clifton, who also mentioned that inflation will likely find it’s way into the next survey. “We will see the problem (inflation) poses sooner rather than later.”
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How does COVID affect mental and physical health?
Gallup’s report said slightly more than three in 10 people surveyed experienced a lot of physical pain (31%), more than one in four experienced sadness (28%), and slightly fewer experienced some forms of anger (23%).
“The second year of the pandemic was an even tougher year for the world than the first one,” said the report, despite various vaccines to combat COVID becoming available globally.
Many surveyed said they felt less well‑rested and even fewer felt a sense of enjoyment.
‘A silent pandemic’
Gallup said that about 330 million adults globally go at least two weeks without talking to a single friend or family member and that one in five say they don’t have a good friend they can trust.
Clifton said we’re “struggling from a silent pandemic, loneliness.”
Which countries are the most stressful?
Afghanistan is the most stressful country with a negative index score of 32, the lowest since the Gallup emotions report began surveying 16 ago. Afghanistan has held this position pretty steady since 2017.
Comparatively, Panama is the least stressful country with a positive index score of 85.
Where does the U.S. stand? It ranked 46th out of 122 countries for negative emotions. It once ranked as high as 20th in 2006.
Follow Terry Collins on Twitter at @terryscollins
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stress, sadness at record highs amid COVID pandemic, report finds