Are Syrians Feeling Well-Rested Today?

Photographer: Zein Al-Rifai/AFP via Getty Images

A rebel fighter in a safe house in the Bustan al-Basha district of Aleppo on May 19, 2014. Close

A rebel fighter in a safe house in the Bustan al-Basha district of Aleppo on May 19, 2014.

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Photographer: Zein Al-Rifai/AFP via Getty Images

A rebel fighter in a safe house in the Bustan al-Basha district of Aleppo on May 19, 2014.

We live in a world of conflict, poverty, injustice -- and, a new Gallup poll reports, lots of positive emotions.

At least seven of 10 adults worldwide say they're "experiencing lots of enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, feeling well-rested and being treated with respect," according to the poll. Just over 50 percent of adults say they learned or did something interesting the day before being surveyed.

It's impossible to know how accurately the readings reflect people's real emotions. It could get pretty depressing if pollsters kept asking if you found any enjoyment in your life, or laughter, or smiling, and you said no every time.

Adopt a positive attitude and assume respondents answered honestly, and you find that a large chunk of the world's positive vibes emanate from Latin America. It is home to all but one country among the top 10 positive emoters. Paraguay gets the highest score on Gallup's Positive Experience Index, with 87 out of 100.

Denmark danced its way into the top 10 as well. They are really positive in Denmark -- the country consistently takes the top spot in the percentage of people who rate their lives positively enough for Gallup to put them in the "thriving" category.

Sadly notable among the 138 countries surveyed: war-torn Syria. The basic question asked of about 1,000 Syrian citizens, either in person or by phone: "Did you feel well-rested today? Were you treated with respect all day yesterday? Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Did you learn to do something interesting yesterday? ... What about enjoyment?"

Here's one person who wasn't enjoying, or laughing, or smiling that day: the person whose job it was to ask Syrians those questions.

Syria had the lowest score on the Positive Experience Index, at 36. That's the lowest reading for any country measured by Gallup -- which did note that Syria's ranking isn't surprising.

"Fewer than one in three Syrians report feeling well-rested (31%), feeling enjoyment (31%), or learning or doing something interesting (25%) the day before," the poll said.

Here are the top and bottom 10 countries for positive experiences.

Highest Positive Experience Scores:

10. Venezuela/81
9. Honduras/81
8. Denmark/82
7. Colombia/82
6. Costa Rica/82
5. Ecuador/83
4. Nicaragua/83
3. Guatemala/83
2. Panama/86
1. Paraguay/87

Lowest Positive Experience Scores:

10. Nagorno-Karabakh Region/55
9. Azerbaijan/55
8. Yemen/55
7. Belarus/54
6. Nepal/54
5. Serbia/54
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina/54
3. Lithuania/53
2. Chad/52
1. Syria/36


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