Stress, worry and pain have soared in Lebanon, finds Negative Experience Index

A Lebanese demonstrator gestures to a Lebanese soldier, during a protest against the collapsing Lebanese pound currency and the price hikes, in Lebanon, April 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Lebanese adults experienced high levels of stress and a harsher “emotional whiplash” than any other country between 2018 and 2019, according to a recent global report on negative experiences.

“No other country in the world saw negative experiences skyrocket across the board as much as Lebanon. The country’s Negative Experience Index score rose from 30 in 2018 to 48 in 2019 as political and economic turmoil gripped Lebanon,” Gallup’s Negative Experience Index said.

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The number of Lebanese that experienced sadness more than doubled from 19 percent to 40 percent, the report said.

“Nearly twice as many were angry in 2019 as in 2018. Levels of stress, worry and pain also soared to record levels in 2019.”

According to the report, the only country with worse “thriving percentages” than Lebanon was Afghanistan, which had no one rate their lives well enough to be considered as thriving.

A protester takes pictures of a protest symbol that was set on fire by the supporters of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 21, 2020 (AP Photo)

A protester takes pictures of a protest symbol that was set on fire by the supporters of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 21, 2020 (AP Photo)

Protests, Beirut blast, economic struggle

The year 2019 saw unprecedented anti-government protests across Lebanon and was the beginning of one of the worst financial and economic crises in the country’s history.

The Lebanese pound began to tumble and has been in a free-fall ever since. Scores for this year have not been released for the Gallup poll, but the coronavirus pandemic and Aug. 4 Beirut blast will surely have more of a negative impact on numbers than last year.

Scores of young adults and families have emigrated, seeking a better and more stable future. Economic sanctions by the US against Hezbollah allies for corruption have also hit the country’s banking sector and left investors skeptical of Lebanon’s outlook.

In March, Lebanon defaulted on its Eurobond debt for the first time in history, which saw major credit rating agencies downgrade its bonds to junk for the first time in almost 20 years.

“The percentage of Lebanese adults experiencing enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, or feeling well-rested suffered double-digit decreases,” Gallup’s report said of 2019.

“Lebanese adults’ ratings of their lives in general also dropped to a historic low in 2019, as hundreds of thousands of protesters demanded the complete overhaul of the country’s political system. Just 4 percent of Lebanese rated their lives positively enough to be considered ‘thriving’ - the worst score in Gallup’s record for the country and one of the worst ratings in the world in 2019.”

 A boat overcrowded with migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon says the migrants were trying to reach the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. (File photo: AP)

A boat overcrowded with migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon says the migrants were trying to reach the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. (File photo: AP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 25 November 2020 KSA 07:07 - GMT 04:07
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