Every year for the better part of the past two decades, polling organization Gallup has been taking the temperature of the room, so to speak, with its Global Emotions Report. The results are in from its latest survey, and the news is positive, if a bit surprising: The world is feeling better. 

The findings were derived from nearly 146,000 interviews conducted in 2023 with people ages 15 and older in 142 countries and areas. Researchers asked participants questions about their feelings and experiences the previous day, then created two index scores, positive and negative, reflecting the responses. 

For the first time since 2014, experiences of stress, sadness, anger, worry, and even physical pain all decreased. The downturn resulted in the Negative Experience Index dropping two points from the previous year to 31, the same as it was in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversely, the Positive Experiences Index jumped up one point, to 71, also returning to pre-pandemic levels.  

Stress levels fell three percentage points from 2022, to 37%, while three positive emotions remained stable: 71% of people worldwide said they felt well-rested, 73% experienced a lot of enjoyment, and 73% smiled or laughed a lot the day prior. 

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Some more noteworthy takeaways? The percentage of people who learned or did something

interesting a day ahead of the poll reached a record high, jumping four points to 54%. And at 74 points, young people ages 15-29 had the highest Positive Experience Index score. 


Four Latin countries took the lead for the highest Positive Experience Index scores: Paraguay and Panama both scored 86, Guatemala scored 85, and Mexico scored 84, considerably higher than the global average of 71. 

“The high scores have been fairly consistent,” Julie Ray, editor of Gallup Global News, told TIME of those results. “The situation can be crumbling around you, but we still see positivity. Safety was an issue, but you have this strong presence of social networks. And we have some level of cultural bias in how people answer these questions. They just tend to be positive.”

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Indonesia (84), El Salvador (83), Costa Rica (83), Malaysia (82), Senegal (82), and the Philippines (82) rounded out the top 10 countries with the highest positive experiences.  Afghanistan (38), Northern Cyprus (46), Turkey (47), Lebanon (51), and Yemen had the lowest (53). 

With a Positive Experience Index score of 73 and a Negative Experience Index score of 34 (the global average is 31), the U.S. “didn’t finish at the top or bottom of any list,” Ray said. 

Overall, the results are promising, and offer a bit of hope in a time marked by intense global conflict, though Gallup notes that “it’s still too soon for policymakers to relax.” Dig into the full report.