The relationship between depression and humility

Depression is a serious problem that, despite having a greater knowledge of what it is every day, is still something unknown to many people, including those dedicated to the field of psychology.

In spite of the great research on the problems of the mood, it has not been possible to establish in a flat way what are the causes of the depression nor how to avoid it. In recent decades there has been talk of the importance that emotional intelligence could have as an influential factor in the onset of the disorder, especially that a person manifests humble personality traits.

That is why in this article we are going to talk about the relationship between depression and humility , talking in depth about emotional intelligence and, also, some differences that have been seen between cultures on this issue.

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Depression and emotional intelligence

Before addressing the relationship between depression and humility in greater depth, it is necessary, first, to highlight the importance of understanding what are the causes behind depression. Next, it is necessary to understand how emotional intelligence, in which humility could be included, acquires an important role in explaining the appearance of mood problems.

Depression is widely known, even outside the academic field. Everyone is able to list some of the characteristic symptoms of this disorder , such as, for example, negative mood, sadness, anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure and irritability. According to the WHO, depression is among the main health problems of the world population, generating suffering both personally and in the environment of the same patient.

It is for these reasons that psychological research has focused on finding out what are the factors that would be behind the onset of depression. This would not only be for a therapeutic purpose, improving current treatments making them more precise, but also would serve to prevent the appearance of this mood disorder.

In recent years, attempts have been made to explain the appearance of depression by relating it to the emotional intelligence of the patient . This intelligence is understood, today, as the set of skills related to the regulation control and correct use of emotions when having to make a decision, especially when it is related to some aspect that will determine mental health and Physical of the person, both short and long term.

Based on the definition previously given, the ability of the individual to know how to identify both the emotion he lives and that expressed by others is a vital factor in order to have a correct psychological adjustment. High levels of emotional intelligence have been linked to a greater sense of emotional well-being, less stress, a more positive mood, greater self-esteem, less depression, greater optimism and more satisfaction with life in general.

On the other hand, it is understood that by having limited emotional intelligence, there would be a low control of negative emotions , directly associated with the manifestation of stress and depression. It has been seen that patients who have been diagnosed with depression have deficits in recognizing emotions in others.

  • You may be interested: ” What is Emotional Intelligence?

Relationship between depression and humility

Once the relationship between the broad concept of emotional intelligence and the 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 the way in which people perceive and experience their lives in a positive way. It had been considered that if a person carried out positive self-assessments and had a good degree of motivation in the face of life’s adversities, the subject could be considered a happy and psychologically adapted person.

However, while it is true that the extensive research that has addressed this has seen that having a good conception of oneself, even if it is an illusion, is something that can increase well-being, it is not the opinion of everyone. There are several researchers who have seen that having great motivation and an overly positive view of oneself can imply potential harm to both their interpersonal adjustment and their individual well-being.

Thus, several investigations have seen that those who take a more humble and modest view of themselves enjoy greater well-being. This aspect has been something that has caught the attention of psychologists in recent decades, and it has been proposed to address it both taking into account cultural and generational differences.

Humility has been related to better regulation of one’s mental health , less negative affect, greater self-efficacy, respect and kindness with other people that translate into good interpersonal relationships as well as better cooperation in group tasks.

Despite all this, as with virtually everything in psychology, it is necessary to define exactly what is meant by humility in the world of psychologists. Usually, behavioral science tries to define this concept in terms, of course, of behavior. By humility we could understand the fact of recognizing one’s limitations in social situations , implying that the traits and abilities of oneself are not for much.

The group of Chen et al. (2009) tried to find out what the components of humility were, concluding that they would be the following three:

  • Devalue yourself
  • Praise others
  • Unnoticed

With these three components proposed here, it can be understood that humility consists, being more precise, in not giving too much importance to one’s strengths , valuing one’s own abilities above oneself and trying to spend the most unnoticed in situations social, not highlighting.

The humble person focuses more on others than on himself, and not in terms of envy or wishing to be like others. Opt for self-regulating behaviors, highlighting the importance of others and without feeling distressed for lacking certain characteristics. In this way, without envying and 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 does not usually envy others, does not make risky decisions to feed his ego or try to stand out from others. For example, relating psychopathological disorders, anorexic people, who usually have very perfectionist traits, feel a great social pressure that pushes them to try to reach the impossible current canons of beauty. This translates into all the problems related to eating disorders.

Humility is a protective factor in the face of the manifestation of depression , given that the person feels comfortable with what he is like, without seeking to satisfy the vision of others about what they expect of him or that, on a social level, is expected to reach. Being aware that it is not perfect nor will it be, the humble person does not pretend to reach the impossible and, therefore, does not feel frustrated.

Cultural differences

Despite all the comments made in the previous section, it can be said that differences have been found between countries which could dismantle, to some extent, that humility is a protective factor against psychological problems, especially depression and anxiety.

Some of the research that has addressed this issue has seen that humility correlates negatively with subjective happiness. It should be said that this has been seen in samples of adolescents from Western countries and that, considering that puberty is a time of great changes in which it seeks to highlight and create a group of friends, it is logical to think that whoever tries to Going unnoticed ends up feeling isolated from others, leading to marginalization and depression.

On the other hand, it has been seen in Asian cultures that humility is a protective factor of mental health . In countries such as China, Japan and Korea, which are much more collectivist societies than Europe or North America, humility is seen as a socially desirable and fundamental objective in interaction with others. Who is modest is a person who, on a social level, has triumphed.

That is why, given these cultural differences, it is to be expected that adults from Asian countries who have humble traits already enjoy a greater degree of well-being. On the one hand, and in relation to the previously mentioned, because they do not care to stand out or be the best and, on the other hand, because they enjoy a feature that is highly valued at the social level.


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