Britain’s mood slowly starts to recover from COVID-19

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 27, 2020, 9:40 AM GMT+0

YouGov’s mood tracker finds that Britons are slowly finding happiness once again, although we are yet some way from a return to normal levels of joy

Prior to the coronavirus crisis happiness was consistently the most common emotion Brits felt on any given week, with an average of 50% reporting it since YouGov started tracking the topic in the summer of 2019.

This continued as recently as March 9th, but then plummeted – by the next week it had fallen to 39% and then on to 25% by March 23rd, just half the level it had been two weeks before.

You can’t keep the British people down, however, and since that point happiness has been slowly rising again. Over the last five weeks happiness levels have risen back up to 38%.

Happiness has yet to reclaim its spot at the top of our mood tracker, however. During the first three weeks of the lockdown period, stress was the nation’s primary emotion, at between 45% and 50%.

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As the lockdown wore on, stress was replaced by frustration as our most common emotion. This is not due to a rise in frustrated feelings – which have been consistent at 41% to 44% for the past five weeks – but rather because Britons became less stressed in early April and levels have remained at 38-39% ever since.

Unsurprisingly, boredom is currently the nation’s second-most commonly reported state of being. The number of bored Brits shot up from 19% on March 23rd to 34% by March 30th, and for the last three weeks has been fairly static at 38-40%.

On the positive side, Britons are less fearful than they once were. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, the average number of Brits saying they felt scared on any given week was just 11%. This then spiked at 36% on March 23rd, but has since fallen every subsequent week and now stands at 21%.

The tracker has also seen contentment levels have risen from their low of 13% on March 23rd to 27% today.

It is clear that Britons are adjusting to life under lockdown, but that we’re still not accustomed to it yet. With the Government saying that the lockdown period will last at least another three weeks we will see how far Britain’s emotional state can return to normal while everyone is still stuck indoors.

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