Pandemic pushes German unhappiness to all-time low

Lockdowns were the hardest periods, while vaccinations lifted the mood somewhat

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Jörn Sawatzki, Veronika Bräse
via: BR24
Lights illuminate the Christmas market at the Gendarmen Markt square, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Because of the high number of COVID-19 infections, only people who are vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus are allowed to visit this Christmas Market. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Polls show that Germans have never been as unhappy as they are at the moment. On a scale from 0 to 10, life satisfaction is currently 6.6 points nationwide, with Bavaria edging out the Teutonic nation with 6.7 points. Overall, it is the lowest value ever recorded, with indications that the extreme discontent is due to the corona pandemic.

“Corona has brought life satisfaction down dramatically after it had been at a relatively high level for ten years,” says Freiburg economist and study director Bernd Raffelhüschen. In his eyes, the pandemic is dampening growth and globalization, which, according to the economist, are the mainsprings of satisfaction.

Happiness through fellowship

Respondents were particularly unhappy in the months of lockdown. However, there was also a turning point when the first vaccines hit the market. The mood went up. Although vaccinating does not make you happy, happiness can flourish better with a feeling of greater security than under an even stronger feeling of threat, explains the Munich psychiatrist Matthias Nörtemann from the Harlaching Clinic,

“An important point is (…) that the feeling of happiness is connected via the hormone oxytocin with the feeling of being accepted and belonging in a community, and that is where the unvaccinated currently have a harder time than the vaccinated,” said Matthias Nörtemann, a psychiatrist at the Harlaching Clinic

COVID crisis affects the mind

For the eleventh edition of the “Glücksatlas”, the Institute for Demoscopy Allensbach surveyed 8,400 people aged 16 and over between January and June. In the months of lockdown, respondents were, on average, more unhappy than in the months without lockdown. The tightening of measures in the third wave in March then pushed sentiment down to a low point. After the lockdown ended in June, the level of happiness increased again.

Vaccination was not cited as a turning point for personal happiness alone. Among those surveyed, 70 percent believe that the pandemic as a whole can be managed if the majority of the people are vaccinated.

Happiness and satisfaction were also measured worldwide: according to the United Nations, experts have determined that Finland is the happiest country in the world. Iceland is in second place, followed by Denmark.

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