When President Joe Biden ran for and took office, he did so on a vow that his presidency would restore calm and positivity to not just the United States but also the entire world — but a recent survey suggests that the opposite is actually what occurred.
According to Breitbart, a new annual worldwide survey of emotions by Gallup found that the entire world in 2021 was “sadder, more worried, and more stressed-out” than the year before, and its “negative experience index” hit a record high mark.
Unsurprisingly, given how its people were essentially abandoned to the clutches of the Taliban, Afghanistan topped the list as the “least-positive country in the world” and experienced in 2021 record-high levels of sadness, stress, and worry.
The world is generally a more negative place in 2021 compared to 2020
Gallup‘s Global Emotions Report for 2022, as in previous years, measures the emotions of individuals in 122 different nations and areas around the world by asking respondents if they experienced any of the five key metrics of both positivity and negativity during the previous day.
Overall, the Negative Experience Index increased to an all-time high of 33 percent in 2021 from 32 percent in 2020. Conversely, the Positive Experience Index fell to 69 percent in 2021 from 71 percent the year before, the lowest it has been since 2017.
In terms of recent negative experiences, 42 percent were worried, 41 percent were stressed, 31 percent felt physical pain, 28 percent felt sadness, and 23 percent felt anger. Worry and pain were both up two points while sadness and stress increased by one point, but anger actually fell by one point from the previous year.
As for recent positive emotions, 86 percent felt they’d been treated with respect, 72 percent said they had smiled or laughed, 69 percent felt well-rested, and 50 percent said they had learned or done something new and interesting. Compared to last year, all of those numbers were down except for smiling and laughter, which actually increased by two points.
Afghanistan ranks the worst for both positive and negative experiences
The bleakest results, again, unsurprisingly, were for the people of Afghanistan, who reported record lows of experiencing enjoyment, smiling and laughter, and feeling well-rested. Overall, the beleaguered nation scored 59 percent on the negative index to rank first as the most negative nation emotionally in the world.
Meanwhile, the Afghans also experienced new record highs of sadness, stress, and worry, and only scored a 32 on the positive index — the lowest rating for any nation in the 16 years that Gallup has conducted this annual survey.
To be sure, Afghanistan was no bastion of joy in recent years, but the emotional impact of the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. forces amid the brutal retaking of the country by the Taliban in August 2021 is certainly evident.
Americans are unhappy, but much of the rest of the world is even more unhappy
According to Axios, Gallup CEO Jon Clifton said that public and private leaders can improve these scores by focusing on three things — “improving well-being at work, addressing global loneliness, and fixing global hunger.”
As for the United States, it ranked 46 among all nations in terms of the negative index, down substantially from its rank of 20 in the first survey in 2006. However, Gallup noted that this change wasn’t necessarily because Americans had become more positive — they haven’t — but rather because so many people in so many other nations had grown even more unhappy than Americans over the years.