Someone once wrote that the grand essentials of happiness are: “something to do, something to love, something to hope for.”

Using those three meaningful steps as a measuring stick, we find it discouraging that one-third of the world was stressed, worried and in pain last year and more than half of Americans feel pressure and strain. That’s according to the 2019 Global Emotions Report, Gallup’s annual snapshot of the world’s emotional state. The report was published in USA TODAY newspaper.

Chad, a North African country beset by violence, was the most negative country in the world last year, according to the report, and Paraguay’ and Panama led a host of Latin American countries atop the list of most positive countries.

How about the United States? According to the Global Emotions Report, we’re more stressed than almost anybody.

Most Americans (55%) recall feeling stressed much of the day in 2018. That’s more than all but three 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.

“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.

Americans were more stressed than residents of China, the world’s saddest and most pain-stricken population. Fifty-one percent of Chadians report stress last year, along with 54% reporting sadness. Two-thirds there felt worried, and 66% felt physical-pain.

“The country’s overall score at least partly reflects the violence, displacement and the collapse of basic services in parts of Chad that have affected thousands of families,” Gallup says in an analysis, noting seven out of 10 residents struggled to afford food last year.

Many readers may be surprised the study showed a train of Latin American countries leads the most-positive list. Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador follow top-ranked Paraguay and Panama in a tie. All of the top 10 most-positive nations are Latin American save one Indonesia.

According to a psychologist at the University of Texas-Austin (Ricardo Ainslie), Latin Americans tend to be so “family-focused that I think that provides a sense of “Whatever happens, I’ve got this. Family is always my bedrock.”

Well said, Mr. Ainslie. Latin American countries, no matter the hardships they face, are showing the world the importance of family love.

A family focus in top-ranked Paraguay bleeds into day-to-day culture, according to Barbara Ganson, a Florida Atlantic University professor who is well-versed on Paraguay politics, society and environment. “Family-work is very different from what we experience here in the United States and in many other countries,” she wrote.

George Santayana (1863-1952), a Spanish philosopher and writer who lived in the United States, foretold the importance of family when he wrote “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”

People worldwide need to pay more attention to what makes the world tick.