The world prefers a calm life, but not everyone gets to have one: global trends in valuing and experiencing calmness in the Gallup World Poll

Tim Lomas, Pablo Diego-Rosell, Koichiro Shiba, Priscilla Standridge, Matthew T. Lee, Alden Yuanhong Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychology has paid relatively little attention to low arousal positive states like calmness. To remedy this lacuna, this study draws on the most globally comprehensive study to date on calmness (121,207 participants in 116 countries in the 2020 Gallup World Poll), featuring two items asking whether people: (a) prefer a calm life or an exciting life; and (b) experienced calmness yesterday. By intersecting these, we could categorise people in four categories of calmness: satisfied (both prefer and experience it); unwanted (experience calmness but prefer excitement); longed-for (prefer calmness but don’t experience it); and unmissed (neither prefer nor experience it). The results reveal a nuanced picture that challenges certain stereotypes (e.g. calmness had no particular association here with Eastern cultures), and shed new light on this overlooked topic (e.g. poorer people and countries are more likely to prefer calmness yet are less likely to actually experience it).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Calmness
  • cross-cultural
  • Gallup
  • global
  • low arousal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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