News & Opinion | July 21, 2021 6:00 am

2020 Was the Most Stressful Year on Record, According to a New Poll

In other equally surprising news, the sky is blue and grass is green

1960s ANGRY MAN BUSINESSMAN DESK FULL OF BILLS PAPER WORK OFFICE STRESS FRUSTRATION
It was a rough year for everyone.
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Last year was a rough one, to say the least. It turns out that being forced to spend the majority of our time in isolation during a pandemic that also happened to take place during a contentious election year is not exactly great for one’s mental health. That’s a no-brainer, of course, but now we have scientific proof that 2020 was, in fact, the most stressful year on record.

According to a new Gallup poll released on Tuesday, 40 percent of adults surveyed said they felt worry or stress “a lot of the previous day,” the highest percentage recorded since Gallup initially began tracking negative emotions back in 2006. As Forbes points out, “The jump from 35% to 40% between 2019 and 2020 translates to about 190 million more people feeling stressed out compared to the previous year.”

It makes sense that the uncertainty and financial burden of the pandemic would contribute to an increase in stress, but that wasn’t the only negative emotion that saw a big jump in 2020. In addition to stress and worry, respondents in the poll also reported record-high levels of sadness (27%) and anger (24%).

Some countries were more stressed in 2020 than others, however: Taiwan reported the lowest levels of negative experiences last year with a score of 13 on the index created by Gallup, while Iraq reported the most with 53. Iraqis also reported the highest levels of pain (56%), sadness (50%) and anger (51%).

The worst part? While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly to blame for the big spike in reported stress levels, it’s actually just part of an ongoing trend. According to Gallup, negative emotions have been on the rise for the past 10 years. Here’s hoping 2021 can turn things around.