World unhappier and more stressed out than ever before

Published 12:19 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

To the Editor:
Gallup has been tracking the world’s emotional health which is a fundamental element of the human experience. How people feel affects life outcomes and is a definitive indicator of societal health and progress. Gallup said their recent survey of the world’s emotional health found the people of the world are unhappier and more stressed than ever. Emotionally, the second year of the pandemic was even a tougher year for the world than the first one, according to Gallup’s latest annual global update on the negative and positive experiences people are having each day. In 2021, adults worldwide who said they experienced a lot of worry (42%), or stress (41%), a lot of physical pain (31%) or experienced sadness (28%), experienced anger (23%). In 2021 the percentage experiencing stress, worry and sadness was a new record and highest ever recorded! The country that had the most worry, stress and sadness in 2021 was the Muslim country of Afghanistan.
Americans are more unhappy than ever. According to www.christianheadlines.com a 2020 General Social Survey showed only 14 percent of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31 percent who said the same in 2018. In total, fewer Americans call themselves happy than at any point since the survey began in 1972. Although this survey is two years old I am sure even more Americans are unhappy as things are much worse than they were two years ago.
COVID-19 increased isolation and increased online time and decreased happiness. According to Jim Liebelt, “studies show as time online increased teen happiness went down.” COVID-19 increased smartphone use. According to www.christianheadlines.com, studies show depression increased after smartphones became common after 2011. Eating and spending time with family and friends — 84 percent say — is the happiest part of their day. Spending face to face time with and eating with family and friends was reduced due to COVID-19. Studies show 74 percent of people who attend church are “very happy.” Church attendance is down because of COVID-19. Wearing a mask is anti-social because you can’t share a smile with family and friends! Masks can also hurt communication as it makes it harder to hear and for some to read lips.
The Bible is true when it says in the last days people would be lovers of themselves and unthankful. (2 Timothy 3). The most unhappy are young people under 30 years old. More young people are on drugs than ever with a record 107,000 dying from overdoses in 2021. Many young people aren’t thankful for our police and law enforcement. Our police and law enforcement are the least racist and best in the world. The Bible says in everything give thanks. Dennis Prager said, “You can’t be happy if you aren’t grateful, and you can’t be good if you aren’t grateful. Almost everything good flows from gratitude and almost everything bad flows from ingratitude. Ingratitude guarantees unhappiness!”
More young people than ever aren’t Christians and have only self-love and don’t have self-control and don’t have the attitude of gratitude. Your attitude is the way you think or feel about something or someone. “The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes!” The Bible says live at peace as much as it is up to you.
The American Declaration of Independence says all are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Abraham Lincoln said we are as happy as we decide to be. We can decide to do what the Bible says and we will be happier. The most important thing to do to be happy is as Proverbs 16 says, “… and whoever trusts in the Lord (Jesus), happy is he.” The Bible says in everything give thanks, forgive, and be humble and not think too much about oneself. The Bible says do to others as you would have them do to you. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Jesus) and these other things (happiness) will be added to you. The Bible says act loving regardless of your feelings. C.S. Lewis said the more loving you act the more love you will feel. In the same way the happier we act, the happier we will feel. Christians aren’t controlled by feelings because it’s how we act that affects others not how we feel!
The Bible says… “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” in Nehemiah 8:3. When Christians take their mind off themselves, worship God and sing and give to others even when we don’t feel like it we are strengthened and filled with joy. Christians showing joy in every circumstance is a powerful witness to the world. To the world happiness is based on happenings. Christians’ joy comes from within and is a sense of tranquility that’s not affected by circumstances. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5), a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Psalm 16:11 says .”..in your (Jesus) presence there is fullness of joy.” The Bible in Philippians 4 says, “rejoice in the Lord (Jesus) always.” Notice the location of our joy: “in the Lord.” Not in social media, popularity, wealth, health, happiness or circumstances. If Jesus is your Savior and coming King you can experience His joy every day. When you choose Jesus, you choose joy and the happiest eternity!

D.D. Nave
Elizabethton

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