Social Changes and Depression - Xtratime Community
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 06:44 Thread Starter
International
 
Join Date: 03 2005
Location: The Gorg Hive
Posts: 6,089
Social Changes and Depression

http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/...s/freedom.html

The Cost of Freedom
We’ve never been so free here in the West. We can travel to places previous generations didn’t even know about, we can eat and drink what we like and we can be entertained 24/7. We are instantly connected to people everywhere. We live in dwellings with hitherto undreamed of amenities. Yet we’ve never been so depressed.

I saw a young ‘other than thin’ boy in the park recently. His generous granny handed him an ice cream (an unimagined luxury just a few generations ago!). The boy looked at it in disgust and flung it to the ground: “I told you I wanted chocolate on top!”

What is the cost of relying for gratification on receiving without effort, and perceiving what we get as something we should have had all along anyway, so not feeling particularly pleased or grateful for it?

The lost art of gratitude
Have people in western industrialised countries forgotten how to be grateful? For Victor Frankl, imprisoned for years in concentration camps, surviving under constant threat of death, a day could be ‘made right’ by a split second glimpse of a sunset through prison bars. For Milton Erickson, ‘imprisoned’ by polio at seventeen and diagnosed as imminently terminal (his doctor forecast at one point that he would be dead by morning), being able to imagine the sunrise was enough to give him real meaning (although he was dissatisfied with the prognosis and proved his doctor wrong by living for another sixty two years).

I want!
I did some hypnotic work for an elderly woman for high blood pressure. She said that any benefit would be wonderful and all she needed in life to feel happy was to appreciate three ‘good’ things a day – which may include witnessing kindness from another person, seeing a beautiful sky or even being amused or interested in ‘anything at all’. I have never heard a young person say anything like this.

Depressed society
Rates of depression have risen by around 1000% in the last fifty five years and much of this seems to be to do with social changes. Being depressed, of course, isn’t just a matter of not knowing how to appreciate what you have and instead focussing on what you don’t have. However, a capacity for gratitude does seem to confer some protection from depression. And the so-called happiness researchers constantly re-iterate that happiness is not achieved through ‘getting what you want’ (or what you think you want), or having major positive life experiences, but rather through enjoying and appreciating lots of the small elements in life and being grateful for them.

But it’s so un-cool
Of course, gratitude isn’t cool, and we’ve all been conditioned to feel we should expect to live a certain way, look a certain way and have certain things, and if we don’t then we should be dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction is a great motivator and can move us to make efforts, but dissatisfaction without action or personal effort leads to bitterness and petulance – and yes, adults can be petulant.

Because I’m worth it?
It’s a shame if we feel that we should have certain material things but don’t feel equally strongly that we should have certain immaterial qualities such as fortitude, perseverance, courage, decency –all those old fashioned words whose meaning appears to have been lost. Turning to outside stimulation to bring us fulfilment is a non-starter. Satisfaction is a by-product of developing inner capacities. What about “I can make myself worth it!” rather than “I am worth it!” Worth what? And what kind of worth is there that comes about without effort, determination and vision, just through buying something?

Now I sound like a conspiracy theorist
There has been an active trend in our media to promote dissatisfaction (and therefore ingratitude) in order to maintain the order of a materialistic society which depends on consumers consuming. Paradoxically, however, the more you are satisfied by the small shades of meaning in life rather than just the big primary colours of existence, the more, in a sense, you do have.

From Buddha to Cicero, many philosophers have celebrated gratitude and the world’s great religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and others, have all at various times promulgated the idea that being grateful encourages reciprocal kindness, and individual and collective wellbeing.

Benefits of gratitude
Two research psychologists, Dr Michael McCollough and Dr Robert Emmons, compiled a scientific report on the effects of gratitude on mental health and well being. The study required seven hundred people in three different groups to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a simple diary of events that occurred during the day, a second group recorded their unpleasant experiences of the day, and the third group made a daily list of things they were grateful for from that day. This last group were to literally ‘count their blessings’.

The results of the study showed that gratitude exercises resulted in increased alertness, enthusiasm, optimism and energy. The gratitude group experienced less depression, exercised more regularly and made more progress towards personal goals. According to these research findings, people who feel gratitude are more likely to feel loved and respected than the non-grateful. They also showed greater immune function and less physical illness!

Of course, it’s all relative. You will feel more grateful to have a friend to talk to if you’ve been cast away on a desert island for years than if you’d only seen them yesterday. You’ll appreciate a good meal much more if you’ve had to go without than when you are surrounded by more than you can ever eat.

We don’t need more and more things, we need to know how to enjoy what we have. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for things in life, but we should understand that putting in effort, overcoming lack, and enjoying the small along with the large benefits is what makes us happier and more contented.

Article by Mark Tyrrell

---------------------------------------------------------

Anyone agree/disagree?




Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?



ULTRA GORGATRON is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 07:20
Legend
Legend
 
Andrix's Avatar
 
Join Date: 04 2001
Location: Toronto
Teams: Partizan
Posts: 15,157
The article makes some good points.

Quote:
We’ve never been so free here in the West.
Really? Freedom is a relative concept when considered in its totality. It is true obviously that nowadays people have a lot more political freedom than before, that various technologies have enabled spacial freedom like never before (quick mass mobility), but when you realize that most our time is actually spent working, you wonder about this freedom thing. Don't believe the lie that we work nowadays less than people worked before; this might be true if you compare today to the mid-19th century and the worst periods of the Industrial Revolution, but it's not true if you look at the period before industrialization.

I think this a big part of the whole depression issue. Technological progress is supposed to boost productivity (which is does quite well) and give us less work. The less work part was true if you look at 19th cent. to just after WW2 (working hours were reduced steadily), but is it true now? Or do productivity gains just lead to layoffs and more work for those who remain?

Another big factor are the social structures of industrial society. The mass society where no one knows anyone, where certain values and goals are imposed from above to give coherence to the whole damn mess, etc.

And of course, as the article says:
Quote:
There has been an active trend in our media to promote dissatisfaction (and therefore ingratitude) in order to maintain the order of a materialistic society which depends on consumers consuming.
Very true.

The other thing comes down to Max Weber's "in order to live a happy life, one must die a happy death". Before, ordinary people (whether they be farmers or hunter-gatherers or whatever) could die thinking "I have done everything that is possible for a human to do". In more structured societies, the separation of casts ("I was born to a blacksmith, therefore I am destined to be a blacksmith, was a blacksmith and did everything it is possible for a blacksmith to do") helped keep this in place. In today's society, where there is extreme social mobility, where people do amazing things like fly to the moon and go from rags to riches, and yet where most of the "amazing" things are never done by the majority, people can live a life and feel quite unfilfilled at the end, seeing as there's all these things that they could have done, but that they never did.


There's a reason why those world-wide research projects on happiness list people living in places like rural Nigeria as the happiest. Now I'm not saying we should go back to the stone age, but just think about it...
Andrix is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 11:34
Xtratime Legend
Xtratime Legend
 
AMOROSO!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: 06 1999
Location: London
Teams: PAOK and Parma
Posts: 26,731
These articles are very deceiving in my opinion because they never put anything in the right context. There are few decent points here and there, but most of it is sensationalistic rubbish by a person not showing what he preaches (grattitude) towards the society that surrounds him. He's the journalistic equivalent of a grumpy old man in a park bItching about the old days.

And I seriously cannot believe that people keep bringing up depression rates as an argument to indicate modern Western's societys decadence.

Love is the drug, and I'm a junkie.
AMOROSO! is offline  
 
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 12:05
***** *******
Star Player
 
dubh-bán's Avatar
 
Join Date: 08 2001
Location: Somewhere in France
Teams: Juventus, Ireland
Posts: 3,784
I've always found that the most advantaged people were the most prone to depression. The struggle to achieve something, be it a glass of clean water or one's first billion, is an intrinsic part of human nature. People who don't have that struggle, who lack the drive or desire to achieve something are prime candidates for disillusionment and depression. When "what's it all about?" (survival/power/being the best) has no obvious answer, the blues are bound to kick in.
People in steady jobs, people who have raised their children, people who have achieved huge success and who can go no further are all more likely to get down than people who have to fight each day as it comes.

:embarass: :embarass:
:embarass: :embarass:
:embarass: :embarass:
Are you watching enough TV?
dubh-bán is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 14:12
Legend
 
Hagi's Avatar
 
Join Date: 04 2000
Teams: Galatasaray
Posts: 13,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubh-bán
I've always found that the most advantaged people were the most prone to depression. The struggle to achieve something, be it a glass of clean water or one's first billion, is an intrinsic part of human nature. People who don't have that struggle, who lack the drive or desire to achieve something are prime candidates for disillusionment and depression. When "what's it all about?" (survival/power/being the best) has no obvious answer, the blues are bound to kick in.
People in steady jobs, people who have raised their children, people who have achieved huge success and who can go no further are all more likely to get down than people who have to fight each day as it comes.
There are people without ambition, without the need to achieve anything, that are the most happy people in the world. They have come to grips with reality and make the most of the day without expectation or desire for more. The question 'what's it all about' sounds ridiculous in their ears after which they start laughin and laughin or they might feel pity for the wanderers and ponderers. People working just to work, footballers just playing for the sake of the game instead of getting a prize or title, or perhaps a farmer who's happy getting his hands dirty. Maybe it's better to say ' Being ambitious is unhealthy'.

I guess people from the lower social order will be as much depressive as people from the higher social order. The causality could be different (e.g. economic, crime-related etc.) I think poor people will have less time to wonder what life all is about, because they know what it is about: getting food on the table. But I don't believe it is simple like this. Life is full of interactions between all kinds of factors, it's impossible to generalize like this.
Hagi is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old October 5th, 2005, 16:30 Thread Starter
International
 
Join Date: 03 2005
Location: The Gorg Hive
Posts: 6,089
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMOROSO!
These articles are very deceiving in my opinion because they never put anything in the right context. There are few decent points here and there, but most of it is sensationalistic rubbish by a person not showing what he preaches (grattitude) towards the society that surrounds him. He's the journalistic equivalent of a grumpy old man in a park bItching about the old days.

And I seriously cannot believe that people keep bringing up depression rates as an argument to indicate modern Western's societys decadence.
Mark Tyrrell
Director

Previous to practising as a hypnotherapist and therapist trainer, Mark worked as a psychiatric nurse. More recently he worked for the European Therapy Studies Institute, the UK’s largest independant trainer of the NHS and Social Service, organising and delivering training in psychotherapy to health professionals. He is particularly interested in treatment for depression and anxiety conditions. He and Roger Elliott run a thriving psychotherapy and hypnotherapy practice in Brighton.

He has recently co-authored the book 'The Giant Within', published by Arrow and is currently delivering the seminar 'How to Lift Low Self Esteem' to health professionals around the UK. (2002/2003)

http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/...k_tyrrell.html




Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?



ULTRA GORGATRON is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old October 6th, 2005, 02:05
Xtratime Legend
Xtratime Legend
 
AMOROSO!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: 06 1999
Location: London
Teams: PAOK and Parma
Posts: 26,731
He's not a journalist then. So?

Love is the drug, and I'm a junkie.
AMOROSO! is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old October 19th, 2005, 08:57
Xtratime Legend
 
Johan's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10 2002
Location: Lulea
Teams: Milan
Posts: 23,795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrija PFC
There's a reason why those world-wide research projects on happiness list people living in places like rural Nigeria as the happiest. Now I'm not saying we should go back to the stone age, but just think about it...
Great post overall Andrija.

Just a simple thing as taking away TV would help a lot. But that is only in the context that people didn't have the TV before as many use the TV to help themselves feel better. Like someone I know said "Seeing how messed up other people is can make me feel my life isn't that bad".

It is all these dreams we are having and all these things we want to have and/or others think we should have.

It makes you think when you hear someone (unemployed) say that she can't afford to buy food and then talks about how she went to Stockholm (60-100€ trip) and there bought jeans for 100€.

Knowing and thinking doesn't make us many favours here. I know very well what I dream of the most and that still being a dream means it is a mental burden.

Anyhow. The part he wrote about gratification is true, for all the thing we feel grateful for having instead of seeing them as "certain I should have" things then we make ourself feel better.
Johan is online now  
 

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Xtratime Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive. Try to avoid choosing short (like '1'), simple (like 'abcd') and easy to guess passwords (like a name of your favorite team, player, etc)! Complex and long enough passwords, that consists of random string of alphabet and numerical characters, are almost impossible to be stolen and misused.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Linear Mode Linear Mode
Rate This Thread:



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome