Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Mirror, Mirror, Who’s the Most Anxious of Them All?

The Anxiety Index by the JWT advertising agency takes us on an anxiety-ridden world tour. 225 adults from 27 countries (aka “markets”) were given a battery of questions to assess both their levels and sources of anxiety. The findings are designed to “help brands navigate consumer anxiety.”

The sample size and scope might not tell us how anxiety affects people around the world overall–or even a region as the sample sizes are fairly small–but there’s still a lot of meat on the Anxiety Index’s bones.


Of the countries surveyed, Pakistan rated most anxious, and Finland the least. The study also detailed what makes us most (see below). Folks in the US are anxious about money, Italians fret over corruption and folks in Hong Kong (unsurprisingly) are anxious about housing.


The AI also tracked happiness, and strangely found a low correlation between anxiety and happiness. Finland, along with Germany, rated not-anxious, but not happy either (a finding that corresponds with a more comprehensive 2011 Gallop survey). Americans are anxious, but happy.


Even more interesting was the low correlation found between happiness and typical anxiety-inducing situations. The chart below shows the negative or positive correlation between happiness and various circumstances that tend to cause anxiety. The strong negative correlation between happiness and things like the cost of living and job security would suggest that economic stability–while not necessarily detrimental to our happiness–are not causal either.


What do you think of these findings? Are anxiety and happiness inextricable or might anxiety be perfectly compatible with living a happy life? Might anxiety, as the study suggests, just be a fact of life?

Screen shots via JWT