For the first time in the 10-year history of this particular poll, not a single state improved its well-being in 2017. It’s almost as if there’s a specific reason for the sudden onslaught of misery. Like, one, identifiable event that’s caused spirits to plummet straight through the floor boards, past the Earth’s crust, the mantle, and finally plop, mangled and defeated as a chewed-up dog toy, on the inner core?
Stranger still is that Americans actually improved their health in a number of ways: More people exercised, more people stopped smoking and more people lost weight. Typically those types of improvements to physical well-being have a positive psychological effect as well...unless whatever is going on is so monstrous, so totally soul-crushing, that no amount of yoga or meditative jogs or sage-smudging or wailing will improve it.
The sharpest declines were in the metrics around “purpose,” “social well-being” and “mental health.” Did you know that a person’s mental health can be impacted by the social, economic and physical environments in which they live? In other words, even a totally stable person can be made unhinged if something disastrous enough occurs around them? Weird.
The poll consisted of 160,000 interviews from residents of all 50 states, and the results were unequivocal: The drop in well-being “shattered” the previous record set in 2009, which was right at the nadir of the recession. The recession was terrible wasn’t it? Jobs lost, lives destroyed. But this time, confidence in the economy is pretty high, and perceptions of the job market were markedly more favorable in 2017 than they were in 2009.