South Africans are not a happy nation right now – and for good reason.
This is according to the national Happiness Index, launched by Professor Talita Greyling (University of Johannesburg) and Doctor Stephanie Rossouw (Auckland University of Technology) in April 2019.
Over the last month, the Covid-19 outbreak has jeopardised South Africa’s emotional state from being joyful, trusting and having a positive outlook, to doing a complete 180. Our collective emotional state is now one of anger (up by almost 10%), followed by disgust (up by 8%), and fear. In addition, the majority of the population is anticipating the worst, as we move further into uncertain and unsettling times. In contrast, the biggest emotional losses were trust (-13%) and joy (-6).
There are many things South Africans are unhappy with right now, from the violent way police and military personnel are enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown regulations – bordering on “terrorizing the communities” in some areas, according to one Twitter user, to Moody’s downgrading of the South African economy to junk status and growing concerns for the increase in domestic violence during the lockdown period.
However, there is a silver lining, as South Africans are ringing in this period as a “time for self-reflection” and a “time to turn to God”. They are also looking forward to spending quality time around their family and loved ones, according to Greyling.
Mental health struggles is another contributing factor to South Africa’s sombre emotional outlook. This period of isolation can trigger feelings of loneliness and depression, while the sudden forced change in routine and behaviour can cause anxiety and sadness.
It’s important to check in on friends and family during this time. Those who are concerned about their loved ones being overwhelmed with sadness, depression or anxiety can call 0800 456 789 or visit South African Depression and Anxiety Group website.