From The Conversation: New studies suggest that Western cultural values – specifically the high value we place on happiness – may be the reason that depression is far more prevalent in Western countries than in Eastern countries. Perceived social pressure not to feel depressed is associated with increased depressive symptoms.
“Valuing feelings of happiness or wanting others to be happy is not a bad thing. The problem arises when we come to believe we should always feel this way. This makes our negative emotions – which are inevitable and normally quite adaptive – seem like they are getting in the way of an important goal in life.
From this perspective, sadness is no longer an expected feeling you have when things go wrong. Rather, it is interpreted as a sign of failure; a signal something is wrong emotionally.”