Western culture’s desire for happiness is causing widespread depression

Western culture’s desire for happiness is causing widespread depression, according to research


Western culture’s desire for happiness is causing widespread depression, according to research

 <https://ideapod.com/author/justinbrown/> Justin BrownAugust 20, 2017

In Western culture being happy is one of the most important goals. It’s in all the smiling faces on ads – even for detergents.

The call to be happy starts when you’re little and accompanies your through life, making faces at you through every social media post. The expectation is so woven in the fabric of society that we frown upon ourselves and each other when we don’t feel on top of the world.

That is crazy. After all, life is a mixed bag and one’s reaction to it will also be a mixed bag.
The net result of this insistence on happiness “leaves us with the distinct impression that what counts as an indicator of success is whether or not we are feeling happy,” says

<https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-other-side/201708/is-our-western-happiness-fetish-causing-depression#_=_> Brock Bastian, associate professor in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

In tandem with the high value we place on happiness, Western society has very high levels of depression. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability in the world according to the WHO.

Could there be a link between our obsession with happiness and so many people in our society suffering from depression? Research is pointing in that direction.

Bastian and others have been investigating whether Western cultural values might play a role in the depression epidemic for several years.

“In a series of experiments, we found that the high value we place on happiness is not only associated with increased levels of depression, but may actually be the underlying factor,”  <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-other-side/201708/is-our-western-happiness-fetish-causing-depression#_=_> writes Bastian.

The problem gets worse when we have social expectations that people should feel happy and not sad. Research has shown that these “social expectancies” can increase feelings of sadness and reduce well-being.


Research has also shown that social pressures to be happy and not sad can make people feel more socially isolated when they do feel sad. People who experienced negative emotions and also believed that others in society disapprove of these emotions felt even lonelier.

Society’s expectations are making people who are already sad feel even worse because they feel pressure not to feel what they feel.

We are told by psychologists not to fight our feelings or deny them, because suppressed feelings can cause all sorts of problems. We know this, but as a society, as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends and co-workers, we ignore that fact and send the message that feeling sad or depressed is somehow wrong.

There are people who are always cheerful, no matter what. There are also people who a find reason to be angry in every situation.

There are also those amongst us who more often than most others experience sadness or depression.

Maybe we must accept the sadness in others and reassess our obsession with happiness.

Right, that was the article and my only comment is that it misses the whole point of happiness, which any Christian can tell you – it starts with the Code and the Protection and Comfort that adherence to the Code gives.

By embracing that, it also bolsters father and mother headed families, ethics and an anti-entitled spirit within the society.  Hence society blooms.

You can choose to abandon that Code and make sure your children do too but they’ll pay for that later, as we see in all the examples about us.  I’m not going to mince words here.

An analogy is the descent into cultural marxism which the PTB are pushing so hard in every single school, every law court, every hospital, every film, every TV series,  every song, every game.

The carrots are ‘freedom’, ‘choice’ and sophistication, equality and diversity, the reality is descent into licence, violence, alienation, deepening depression, particularly among the targetted most vulnerable … and ultimate oppression.  You want that for your kids – fine – but that’s the reality.

Now, unless society gets back to the things which work, however fuddy-duddy they must seem to the rainbowed, genderless schlock embracers, then it can only go one way – down.

Some people just don’t get it until it’s too late:


[H/T one of the crew]

5 comments for “Western culture’s desire for happiness is causing widespread depression

  1. The Blocked Dwarf
    July 18, 2018 at 06:18

    “Are you content?”-My former Headmaster.

    A couple of years back I met my former Headmaster from the little Norfolk VA Primary of 40 years previous. A man who made a deep and lasting impression on me . After he’d realised who I was he asked “So, are you content?”, not ‘how’s life treated you?’ or ‘Are you well?’ etc. That stopped me in my tracks as I was about to give him my usual ’50 years in 5 seconds’ potted personal history that I reserve for such occasions.
    Way to get to the crux of the matter, Sir.
    I find a lot of people confuse or conflate ‘happiness’ with ‘contentment’ .

  2. July 18, 2018 at 06:42

    Perhaps we’re speaking of the same thing with “contentment”, I think more of “not dissatisfied” and that comes down to world view, it seems to me – sense of entitlement or sense of having had a fair crack at it.

    I feel the latter and so yes regrets of course but overall had a few chances go my way, they went pearshaped then new ones came. Right at this very moment I am in discussions with one of the other sub-species about this very topic and others.

    There’ll be a second post on this once the medical thing is resolved.

  3. The Blocked Dwarf
    July 18, 2018 at 09:18

    ” so yes regrets of course but overall had a few chances go my way, they went pearshaped then new ones came.”

    Since the blessing of Grandchildren I have often found myself thinking that those things I had regretted in the past were maybe not all such mistakes after all because most of those ‘mistakes’ led somehow to the three year old who knows damn well she can make Opa’s heart melt when she chooses to speak German to us or to her baby brother who finds my fricative dutch-style ‘g’ on ‘Grendel’ ,when I use him as ‘target practice’ for my Beowulf recitation , a source of constant amusement.
    And yes ‘not dissatisfied’ or as I put it in monetary terms: “suffice to meet most of my needs and a good few of my wants”.

  4. MadNumismatist
    July 18, 2018 at 10:26

    I use this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson as my benchmark on whether I am heading in the right direction:

    “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

  5. dearieme
    July 18, 2018 at 11:18

    I have lately become really fed up with all the mad grinning and demented laughter on the telly.

    But enough about the England football team.

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