People more unhappy, stressed out than ever worldwide, poll finds

FILE-In this photo illustration a woman appears to be stressed as she sits in front of her computer. (Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The past couple of years have been challenging for most of us, and it can impact our moods and stress levels based on a recent Gallup poll.

Gallup surveyed people to gauge the overall emotions they felt in 2021. The analytics and advisory company used data from its annual Global Emotions report, which measures the positive and negative experiences of people globally. Gallup collected responses for the survey using two indexes: a positive experience index and a negative experience index.

The positive and negative experience indexes are based on individuals' responses to five questions about positive and negative experiences they had the previous day before participating in the survey. Higher scores for both indexes reflect the feelings most people polled experienced, Gallup offered. 

Gallup spoke to people in 122 countries last year for the survey and discovered that four in 10 adults said they experienced a lot of worries (42%) or stress (41%), and slightly more than three in 10 experienced a lot of physical pain (31%). More than one in four people experienced sadness (28%), and a slight number of respondents reported experiencing anger (23%).

A rise in negative experiences from respondents caused a slight decline in the positive experience index rating which dipped to an index score of 69 in 2021 compared to 71 in 2020.

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Results from the survey reveal that stress, worry, and sadness for people increased in 2021 compared to 2020 when the pandemic began. Experiences of worry increased two points, while stress and sadness rose one point each.

Additionally, respondents said they were less likely to have learned or done something interesting the day before they were polled.

However, there were some encouraging takeaways people shared in their responses. Seven in 10 individuals said they felt well-rested (69%), experienced more enjoyment (70%), or smiled or laughed a lot (72%), and nine out of 10 respondents said they felt treated with respect (86%).

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.