Why Are Americans So Unhappy?
AMERICA IS THE LEAST HAPPY IT’S EVER BEEN. WHAT HAS CHANGED?
The years since 2010 have not been good ones for happiness and well-being among Americans. According to a World Happiness report, America is the least happy it has ever been.
Even as the United States economy improved after the end of the Great Recession in 2009, happiness among adults did not rebound to the higher levels of the 1990s, continuing a slow decline ongoing since at least 2000 in the General Social Survey.
Happiness and life satisfaction among United States adolescents, which increased between 1991 and 2011, suddenly declined after 2012. In this way, by 2016-17, both adults and adolescents were reporting significantly less happiness than they had in the 2000s.
It’s been reported frequently that adolescents are seeing a decrease in happiness and mental health, resulting in suicides nationwide, and the report says social media plays a key role in their sadness, the more time they spend on it. “This decline in happiness and mental health seems paradoxical,” the report says.
“By most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever. The violent crime rate is low, as is the unemployment rate. Income per capita has steadily grown over the last few decades. This is the Easterlin paradox: As the standard of living improves, so should happiness – but it has not.”
Why are Americans unhappy despite the general prosperity nationwide? How can we turn social media into a benefit for our mental health? How can we get happy?
Internationally-recognized Positive Psychology Life Coach and renowned Happiness Expert LISA CYPERS KAMEN spoke to Gary Rivers about the phenomenon