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Believe it or not, there was a very real global 'pandemic of benevolence' in 2021

People are helping one another more than they were before the pandemic began.

service, volunteer, benevolence
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The World Happiness Report has good news about the state of humanity's humanity.

If you spend any amount of time on certain social media sites, you might think the world has fully plunged into hell-in-a-handbasket territory. (Looking at you here, Twitter.) Viral videos of bad behavior have swept through our feeds with alarming regularity over the past few years. Even just perusing headlines may lead you to believe humanity has lost its humanity, that people are generally terrible to each other and that the partisan polarization that now dominates the political landscape has created a hopeless, toxic toilet full of division and hate.

We're obviously not all singing around the campfire before skipping off into the sunset together, but is humanity really doomed to not care about one another?

Nope. Not even a little bit.


In fact, the perception that things have gotten worse isn't grounded in reality at all, at least not according to the data.

Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has been compiled by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Using data from Gallup World Poll, the report shares rankings of happiness based on how respondents rank their own life and on various quality-of-life factors in countries around the world.

You're probably wondering what the happiest country in the world is, so let's get that out of the way. It's Finland, for the fifth year in a row. (And yes, the Scandanavian countries were all in the top eight. Some things are just a given at this point.)

This year's report also included sections that specifically analyzed how life has changed during the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 pandemic, comparing data over the last five years to see the impact the pandemic has had on people in various circumstances. One element the researchers analyzed was benevolence, as measured in "prosocial behaviour" such as donating to causes, doing volunteer work and helping strangers.

The verdict? We're not getting worse. We're getting better.

The conclusion of the report states:

"Although our three measures of prosocial behaviour—donations, volunteering and helping strangers—had differing levels and trends, all showed increases in 2021 in every global region, often at remarkable rates not seen for any of the variables we have tracked before and during the pandemic.

Global benevolence, as measured by the average of the three measures of prosocial behaviour, has increased remarkably in 2021, up by almost 25% of its pre-pandemic level, led by the helping of strangers, but with strong growth also in donations and volunteering."

Benevolence is up by almost 25% over pre-pandemic levels. Who would've guessed?

I shared this report with my teen and young adult daughters and both responded with surprise. We've talked about how social media and media in general can skew our perceptions of things, so it was nice to have some data-driven evidence to back that up.

People being less benevolent, not more, isn't the only skewed perception many of us gotten during the pandemic. I've heard countless people lament the mental health crisis posed by pandemic lockdowns, citing a huge spike in suicides as supposed evidence. Except there was no spike in suicides. In fact, suicides overall went down during 2020 after the pandemic hit.

When we pay too much attention to viral negativity and outrage, we don't get an accurate picture of what's happening overall around the world. I'm not saying we should quit social media altogether, but I do think we need to take news and stories and videos and everyone's thoughts about them with a grain of salt. It's just far too easy to walk away from a scrolling session with the impression that humanity sucks, when the reality is more people are helping one another.

The World Happiness Report summed up the hope we can find in the data quite beautifully:

"The COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2020 has led to a 2021 pandemic of benevolence with equally global spread. All must hope that the pandemic of benevolence will live far beyond COVID-19. If sustainable, this outpouring of kindness provides grounds for hope and optimism in a world needing more of both."

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What is Unique Vintage?

In the heart of LA, at the dawn of the new millennium, Katie Echeverry’s love of vintage fashion set her on a course to change the fashion industry forever. Fueled by her passion for the elegance of bygone eras and the thrill of thrift store treasure hunts, Katie opened her own online vintage store, Unique Vintage. However, what Katie noticed was that there were tons of people who loved vintage clothing who could never actually wear. And it was this gap in the vintage fashion market that led her to turn Unique Vintage from an online vintage store to a fullblown vintage-inspired fashion label. Today, Unique Vintage has blossomed into an iconic brand that transforms nostalgia for the past into the fashion statements of the present.

But Unique Vintage isn’t just revered for its style. This company is committed to making diversity and inclusivity the norm in fashion. Their goal is to create classic looks for every body, celebrating our individuality and making everyone feel fabulous. To that end, they partner with a variety of charitable organizations that support women’s rights, animal welfare, and LGBTQ+ communities.

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The Western Collection

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The Western Collection is where nostalgia meets contemporary style, offering a range of sizes to ensure that everyone can find their perfect fit and embrace their adventurous spirit. Whether you're getting dressed up for a girls night out, or you just like to look amazing when you go to the grocery store, these pieces are designed to turn heads.

Unique Vintage x Barbie

Born in 2017, the Unique Vintage x Barbie collaboration reimagines Barbie’s iconic styles for today's diverse and fashion-forward audience. Unique Vintage has meticulously crafted a collection that transcends time, bringing the nostalgic charm of Barbie's wardrobe into the present day with pieces that celebrate every body type.

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The Prom Collection

If you’ve got a special occasion coming up and you want to make a statement, the Unique Vintage Prom Collection offers a wide array of styles that cater to every taste. From the timeless elegance of the 1950s, to the bold glamor of the 1980s, and everything in between, this collection proves that classic styles never truly go out of fashion.

Each dress in this collection is a masterpiece specifically designed to make you feel like a prom queen. If you love the intricate details of vintage dresses, but have a hard time finding ones that fit—or that you can actually afford—Unique Vintage can make your dreams come true.

Vintage Inspired Fashion For Every Body

Thanks to Unique Vintage, gone are the days of rummaging through thrift stores, only to face the disappointment of not finding the right size, style, or price. Now everybody can experience the joy and nostalgia of vintage fashion—without even leaving the house. Whether you're in love with the flapper dresses of the roaring '20s, the swing skirts of the '50s, or the bold prints of the '70s, Unique Vintage offers a meticulously curated collection that spans the decades. Shop by clothing category, or by your favorite era, and find the classic looks you want while supporting a company that champions diversity, body positivity, and ethical practices.

So, why wait? With Unique Vintage, every purchase contributes to a broader movement towards a more inclusive and conscious fashion industry. If you’ve always loved vintage fashion, but have never been able to make it work for you, go check out the growing Unique Vintage community on social media for some fashion inspiration. Then check out Unique Vintage online and start building the vintage-inspired wardrobe of your dreams.

via Tod Perry

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