World happiness declining, apparently

By Staff Writer Eric Sousa.

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you just got up, walked out the front door, listened to the birdsong, and inhaled some of that sweet sweet tree-given oxygen and just been thankful to be alive? The world collectively has been having less of these, apparently.

According to a Gallup’s Annual Global Emissions Report, “more people reported feeling stressed, worried, anxious and in physical pain in 2017 than in any previous year.” This study was conducted worldwide. While the happiness levels were ranging, not even the wealthier countries were immune to a statistical decrease.  America reported five out of ten people were under stress, which is a drop from previous years.

Oddly enough, Paraguay was reported to be the happiest country. This could either mean that speaking Guaraní is far more relaxing than it sounds, or they’re a bunch of liars and they’re sad like the rest of us.

This analytical happiness test is something that has been happening since 2006, and 2017 was the lowest year since its creation. I imagine if this was around during the Middle Ages, 2017 wouldn’t even be in the running for winning. However, this does beg the question; why is this occurring, and is there anything we can do about it?

Maybe this has something to do with our current political climate. Tensions between political factions have never been higher, more polarizing, or as unprofessional since the golden yesteryears of high-noon duels and honorable sword fights. World leaders making worldwide decisions that negatively impact our collective societies, rampant unapologetic corruption, and Kanye wanting to run for president doesn’t give Earth any piece of mind.

Possibly, this could involve the social and economic climates. The wage gap, the price of existing, and the disproportionate spread of wealth are all increasing. That’s not even referring to the social issues that are rampant in societies; normalized dehumanization is becoming so commonplace it’s almost a recreational sport for some people. Mister Rogers would be awfully disappointed in these contemptible people

Perhaps this worldwide dissatisfaction has to do with the actual global climate. The fact that our obscene mountains of man-produced plastic will outlive mankind doesn’t really capture the feel-good vibe the Beatles fought so hard for in the 60’s. The ice caps are shrinking, which means polar bear real estate is on its way out. More than half of the world’s coral reefs have been bleached by pH and temperature changes in the ocean. But hey, your metal straw to fight plastic ought to bridge the gap.

Maybe it isn’t any of these things individually that are the reasons, but an amalgamation of factors. Maybe it’s because trust in the government system is at critical lows. Maybe it’s because Brazil just elected a president that’s pro-murder and anti-rainforest. Maybe it’s because people are coming to the realizations that polar bears are, at current trajectory, on borrowed time.

Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that we are learning about all of these things simultaneously, regardless of how recent or how far. The internet is the great informational equalizer; we know about murdered journalists milliseconds after the news producers hit “Enter,” on their articles. It’s not as if there are more atrocities in the world, they’re just bared to the world now. We can know all of them, simultaneously, usually before we’ve had our coffee. How would that not wear on us?

Personally, I think that the fact that we’re redlining in the happiness department isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, nobody fixes things that work. It has to break before it’s replaced. “Ignorance is bliss” might be true, but ignorance isn’t a luxury we can afford.

Also, it’s probably a good idea to remember that, in much the same way these awful elements of the world were always there, the peaceful ones are there too. So if you’re feeling bogged down by existential crises, or the burdening plight of needing to fix a strip-cog world, just go enjoy the sunshine. Or the breeze. Or the roommate you’ve been too busy to catch up with. No matter what it is, take time to give yourself a breath.

Or don’t. I’m not your mother.


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