Panama is a Very Positive Place

According to a recent Gallup State of Emotions poll, Panama and Paraguay are the most positive countries.

The poll did 151,000 interviews in 140 countries and asked these questions to determine the level of positive and negative emotions experienced by each person, and used the results to rank countries.

(Screen Shot from the link above)

The results of the most positive countries are all Latin countries except for one, Indonesia.

(Screen Shot from the link above)

Why is this? Family and community ties are very strong in Panama. We have asked many Panamanians what is important to them and the answer always is “family, friends, and enjoying life”. Imagine spending your life in this strong network of support and love. We are social beings. It’s built into us at a very basic level and social connections are critical for our mental, emotional, and physical health.

The USA, on the other hand, didn’t  score so well.

According to this article

Most Americans (55%) recall feeling stressed during much of the day in 2018. That’s more than all but three other countries, including top-ranking Greece (59%), which has led the world in stress since 2012.

Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry, they told Gallup – both up from 2017. Americans’ stress increased, too, topping the global average by 20 percentage points.

“Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade,” Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in a summary report.”

Many of the problems in the US are daunting – cost of education, inadequate job prospects, lack of affordable health care, lack of affordable housing, just to name a few and if you watch the news, it sounds like the US is leading the world in going down in that hand basket.

I worked with many, many families while caring for my patients (I’m a former nurse). A family that gets along is not nearly as common as one would hope, and most families are separated by distance that prevents them from spending a lot of time together. It is typical to not know people who live within a block or two of your house, and it’s not customary to talk to people you don’t know around town. I was accustomed to this culture when I lived in the US but now that I have experienced Panama, I find it hard to go back. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain but when you experience it, it changes everything.

I’m not even getting into any immigration debates, but I will say that having more Latin culture in the US might not be such a bad thing. The Latin countries always rank at the top of all the happiness polls.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Panama. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Panama is a Very Positive Place

  1. Carole says:

    Right now the stress must be really bad, can’t turn on the TV without hearing about another shooting. Something has to change. We are not like that in the Virgin Islands, our life is slower with lots of friends. If it wasn’t so expensive to live here it would be perfect


  2. MEBE in Medellin says:

    Kris, we just saw this for some reason. We share your perspective on returning to the U.S. Unless there’s a kid/grandkid emergency of some kind it ain’t gonna happen. There’s a reason people in the U.S. are stressed, and my own personal (heavily biased) opinion is that there’s such a disparity between the fantasy and the reality there it’s hard to ignore. The cognitive dissonance eventually causes stress. Plus, in the countries where we live the population is generally poor or struggling people without much in the way of material possessions, but they’re happier. There has to be a connection. Thanks, keep it up.


    • It just seems in the US it’s a constant struggle to stay afloat for most people, and so many have lost the bonds of social connections with others and that much needed support. And yes, we were all told work hard, get the stuff, and you’ll be happy and the reality is quite different.


Comments are closed.