Depression is a serious problem which, although more and more aware of what it is, remains something unknown to many people, including those engaged in the field of psychology.
Despite extensive research on mood problems, it has not been possible to conclusively establish what causes depression or how to prevent it. Over the past few decades, there has been talk of the importance that emotional intelligence may have as an influencing factor in the onset of the disorder, particularly that a person exhibits humble personality traits.
That is why in this article we will talk about the relationship between depression and humility, Talk in depth about emotional intelligence and also some differences that have been observed between cultures on this issue.
Depression and emotional intelligence
Before delving into the relationship between depression and humility in more depth, we must first stress the importance of understanding the causes of depression. Next, it is necessary to understand how emotional intelligence, in which humility could be encompassed, acquires an important role in explaining the appearance of mood problems.
Depression is widely known, even outside of academia. Anyone can list some of the characteristic symptoms of this disorder., Such as negative mood, sadness, anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure and irritability. According to the WHO, depression is one of the major health problems of the world’s population, causing suffering both personally and in the patient’s environment.
It is for these reasons that psychological research has focused on finding the factors that cause depression to develop. This would not only be for therapeutic purposes, improving current treatments by making them more precise, but would also serve to prevent the onset of this mood disorder.
During the last years, an attempt has been made to explain the onset of depression by relating it to the patient’s emotional intelligence.. This intelligence is understood today as the set of skills related to the regulation of control and the correct use of emotions in decision making, especially when it is related to an aspect that will determine mental health and physicality of the person, both short term and long term.
According to the definition given above, the ability of the individual to identify both the emotion he is experiencing and that expressed by others is a vital factor in having a correct psychological adjustment. High levels of emotional intelligence have been associated with a greater sense of emotional well-being, less stress, a more positive mood, more self-esteem, less depression, more optimism, and more satisfaction in the face. to life in general.
On the other hand, it is understood that by having limited emotional intelligence, one would have poor control of negative emotions, Directly associated with the manifestation of stress and depression. Patients who have been diagnosed with depression have been shown to have impairments in recognizing emotions in others.
Relationship between depression and humility
Once the relationship between the broad concept of emotional intelligence and mood is understood, it is possible to give way to a better understanding of the relationship between depression and humility.
Traditionally in psychology, when it comes to understanding what wellness is, the focus has been on how people perceive and live their lives in a positive way. It was considered that if a person made positive self-evaluations and had a good degree of motivation in the face of difficulties in life, the subject could be considered a happy and psychologically adapted person.
However, while it is true that extensive research that has addressed this issue has shown that having a good self-concept, despite being an illusion, is something that can increase well-being, it is not. not everyone’s opinion. There are several researchers who have seen that having high motivation and an overly positive outlook on oneself can lead to potential harm both to their interpersonal adaptation and to their individual well-being.
Thus, several studies have shown that people who have a more humble and modest vision of themselves enjoy greater well-being. This aspect has attracted the attention of psychologists in recent decades and has been proposed to address cultural and generational differences.
Humility has been linked to better regulation of mental health, Less negative affection, more self-efficacy, respect and kindness towards others, which translates into good interpersonal relationships as well as better cooperation in group tasks.
Despite all of this, as with virtually everything in psychology, it becomes necessary to define exactly what is meant by humility in the world of psychologists. Usually behavioral science attempts to define this concept in, of course, behavioral terms. Out of humility we could understand the fact recognize their own limits in social situations, Which implies that his traits and abilities are not so far.
The group of Chen et al. (2009) sought to find out what the components of humility were, concluding that they would be the following three:
- Devalue oneself
- Praise others
- go unnoticed
With these three components proposed here, we understand that humility consists, to be more precise, in don’t give too much importance to your strengths, Valuing others above one’s own abilities and trying to go unnoticed in social situations, without standing out.
The humble person focuses more on others than on himself, and not in terms of wanting or wanting to be like others. She chooses self-regulatory behaviors, emphasizing the importance of others and not feeling anxious about not having certain characteristics. In this way, without envy and without knowing how to see the best of others, the person feels good about himself, enjoying a high degree of well-being.
It should also be noted that the humble person, as he usually does not envy others, does not make risky decisions to feed his ego or try to stand out from others. For example, when it comes to psychopathological disorders, people with anorexia, who tend to have very perfectionist traits, feel a great social pressure that pushes them to try to achieve the current impossible canons of beauty. This results in all the problems associated with eating disorders.
Humility is a protective factor against the manifestation of depression, Since the person already feels comfortable with who he is, without trying to satisfy the point of view of others on what is expected of him which, on the social level, is supposed to achieve. Realizing that it is neither perfect nor will it be, the humble person does not seek to achieve the impossible and that is why he does not feel frustrated.
Despite everything that was discussed in the previous section, it must be said that differences were found between countries which could dismantle, to some extent, what humility is a protective factor against psychological problems, especially depression and anxiety.
Some of the research that has addressed this question has shown that humility correlates negatively with subjective happiness. It is noteworthy that this has been seen in samples of adolescents from Western countries and that, given that puberty is a time of great change in which she seeks to stand out and create a group of friends, it is It makes sense to think that whoever tries to go unnoticed ends up feeling isolated from others, leading to marginalization and depression.
On the other hand, yes we saw in the Asian cultures that humility is a protective factor in mental health. In countries like China, Japan and Korea, which are much more collectivist societies than Europe or North America, humility is seen as a socially desirable and fundamental goal in interacting with others. . Who is modest is a person who is socially successful.
Therefore, taking these cultural differences into account, adults in Asian countries who already have modest features are to be expected to enjoy greater well-being in themselves. On the one hand, and compared to what was said above, because they don’t care about standing out or being the best and, on the other hand, because they enjoy a very socially valued trait.
- Fernández-Berrocal, P., Alcaide, R. and Extremera, N. (2006) The role of emotional intelligence in anxiety and depression in adolescents. Survey of Individual Differences, 4 (1). 16-27.
- Zheng, C. and Wu, Y. (2019) The more modest you are, the happier you are: the mediating roles of emotional intelligence and self-esteem. Journal of Happiness Studies. DOI: 10.1007 / s10902-019-00144-4
- Downey, LA et al. (2008). The relationship between emotional intelligence and depression in a clinical sample. The European Journal of Psychiatry, 22 (2). 93-98.