- Feeling content has become the sole goal for many in recent years, experts say
- Not embracing negative emotions could be harmful for sufferers of the blues
- They said depression rates are higher where a premium is placed on happiness
Don’t try and be happy – it will only make you sad.
Desperately trying to keep a smile on your face will only make your depression worse, a new study suggests.
Feeling content has become the sole goal for many in recent years, but embracing your sadness may be more beneficial.
University of Melbourne researchers said that society’s downright shunning of being sad could be harmful for sufferers of the blues.
Desperately trying to keep a smile on your face will only make your depression worse, a new Australian study suggests
‘A premium on happiness’
Dr Brock Bastian, a psychologist behind the study, said: ‘Depression rates are higher in countries that place a premium on happiness.
‘Rather than being the by-product of a life well-lived, feeling happy has become a goal in itself.
‘Smiling faces beam at us from social media and happiness gurus flog their latest emotional quick fixes.’
Maximise positive emotions
This reinforces the message that ‘we should aim to maximise our positive emotions and avoid our negative ones’, he told Futurity.
Society needs to change its attitude on depression if the disorder is to be tackled effectively, Dr Bastian hinted.
ARE YOU DEPRESSED? TAKE UP TAI CHI
Taking part in Tai Chi could help to combat depression, Massachusetts General Hospital research claimed last month.
Going to classes in the ancient Chinese martial art for 12 weeks significantly reduced symptoms of the blues.
It can work independently of treatment, suggesting it can scupper the need for an antidepressant prescription, the small study showed.
The findings hold promise amid soaring rates of depression worldwide, with drugs and therapy often proving ineffective.
The meditative practice, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements.
He added that people have become so used to not showing signs of vulnerability due to social media being used to celebrate achievements.
If celebrities were to share more of the ‘gritty’ stuff, then people would accept their depressive symptoms are normal.
How was the study carried out?
For the study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, the researchers assessed 112 depressed patients.
Each volunteer was asked to rate their symptoms of the blues and how much pressure they faced to be happy. They were tracked over a period of one month.
The study showed that patients under pressure to fit in with society’s pressure to be happy had worse symptoms.
What is depression?
Depression, suffered by 322 million people worldwide, is a major contributor to suicide rates and heart disease.
It is estimated that one in five people will experience the mental health condition at some point in their lives.
Treatments include anti-depressants, but many adults are known to have wrongly been prescribed the controversial drugs.
In an excoriating assessment of the drug industry, experts writing in The Sedated Society said their evidence is flawed.
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