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Survey: Negativity around the world reached record level in 2017

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Demonstrators participate in a "Not My President's Day" rally near the White House to oppose President Donald Trump on President's Day, February 20, 2017. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

By Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

Negativity around the world reached a record level last year -- with more people feeling worried, upset, pained and sad, new Gallup research showed Wednesday.

The results were outlined in Gallup's Negative Experience Index, which tracks people's experiences of stress, anger, sadness, physical pain and worry.

Worldwide, the study found that 38 percent of people worried a lot in 2017. Stress also climbed, with 37 percent of respondents saying it was an emotion they experienced a lot. Both are up two percentage points from the previous analysis in 2016.

The index also found more people around the world felt physical pain (31 percent), an increase of 1 percent over 2016. Sadness also rose slightly to 23 percent.

Among the various negative emotions, anger was the only one that was unchanged. Twenty percent of those questioned said they felt a lot of anger last year.

The index's overall score reached a record high of 30, Gallup said.

"This is the first time that we've seen a really significant uptick in negative emotions," Julie Ray, chief writer and editor of the report, told The New York Times. "It's as high as we've ever measured it."

The United States is one of the most stressed out countries, with 49 percent of Americans saying they felt a lot of stress last year.

Gallup interviewed 154,000 people in 145 countries to compile the report.

As usual, war-ravaged countries were among the most negative places in the world in 2017 -- with Iraq getting a negative experience index score of 59, twice the worldwide average. The Central African Republic recorded the greatest overall negativity, with a score of 61.

Gallup noted, though, there are reasons for optimism.

Seventy percent of those surveyed for Gallup's Positive Experiences Index said they felt a lot of joy, rest and laughter on the day before they were polled. The Positive index also said 46 percent of respondents had recently learned or did something interesting.

Latin American countries were among the most positive countries, with Paraguay topping that list.

Other nations leading the PEI are Canada, Iceland, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

Gallup said it surveyed about 1,000 people worldwide for the report, which carries a margin of error of between 2.1 and 5.3 percent.

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