4 ways in which passivity leads us to depression.
Different attitudes and habits linked to passivity expose us more to depressive disorders.
Depression is a very common mood disorder, since there are many different factors that can cause it to arise in people.
Genetic predispositions and experiences that are as varied as life itself are mixed in this psychopathology, that is to say, practically infinite. That is why it is so complex and difficult to understand, because it can affect people with apparently very different lives, and even with socioeconomic statuses that are clearly far apart.
However, thanks to decades of research, we now know that there are a number of experiences that are more likely than others to give rise to depression. Here we are going to focus on a series of patterns of behavior capable of increasing the probabilities of suffering depression and that can be included within the concept of passivity..
This is how passivity predisposes us to depression
It should be clear that it is impossible to predict who will develop depression and who will not. Everyone is different, and history is full of examples of the underprivileged coping relatively well in the face of catastrophic events, and of members of the economic elite with seemingly perfect lives who are nevertheless very unhappy.
But beyond this fact, it cannot be ignored either that there is evidence of habits, attitudes and lifestyles that point to this psychological disorder, at least from the point of view of the individual.at least from the point of view of statistics and probabilities. For example, we know that this is what happens with several behavioral patterns associated with passivity (physical and psychological). They are the following.
1. Neglecting the sleep schedule
Not worrying about keeping track of the number of hours we sleep and when we go to bed usually costs us dearly. Even if we don't realize it, after a few days of living that way, our mental agility decreases a lot, so we find it harder to concentrate and we are worse at reasoning (at least, as long as we don't go back to sleep properly for several days in a row).
But it is also known that beyond the wear and tear on our cognitive abilities, the lack of quality sleep makes us more vulnerable to depression. This could be because through the physical wear and tear it generates in our nervous system, our brain is more exposed to inflammatory processes.which are known to be one of the Biological causes of depression.
2. The hesitation to ask for help
For many people, the idea of asking for help from loved ones or members of a close social circle is almost impossible to conceive. This is the case for those who consider that the default way of life is to be a totally autonomous human being, who only resorts to asking for the support of others in extreme situations... and by dint of never doing it, by the time the time comes to show vulnerability so that others can lend a hand, it is already an action that breaks too much with the "comfort zone..
In this sense, moving forward without realizing that certain challenges are not meant to be faced without help is a passive attitude, although paradoxically it often leads to ending up physically and/or psychologically exhausted. And with this deterioration of health, cracks appear through which the most common psychological disorders, such as depression, can creep in.
In fact, there are scientific hypotheses that seek the evolutionary usefulness of depression and according to which this psychopathology could be a way of counting on the collaboration and help of others in an unconscious and indirect way. If, for whatever reason, we are unwilling to openly recognize our limitations, the biological and unconscious processes of our body would do it for us... although, of course, sometimes this mechanism would fail, activating itself in moments in which it cannot be of help and in which it supposes an added problem in itself.as sometimes happens with anxiety, for example.
This is a logic taken to the extreme of what usually happens when we cry around people who know us; we should not forget that the most basic action we usually associate with sadness and despair, shedding a few tears, is probably a mechanism that arose to communicate to others that we are not well.
3. Light pastimes typical of sedentary lifestyles
Hobbies linked to a sedentary lifestyle, such as spending long periods of time on the couch watching television, are also associated with an increased risk of developing depression.
This may be due to the lack of meaningful stimuli they offer, combined with the absence of stimulating challenges to focus on.The following is a key point: those who limit themselves to watching what TV channels broadcast or watch what others post on social networks are only consuming finished content, which does not lend itself to engaging with them in any way.
4. Tendency to isolate
Social isolation, the lack of a habit of seeking out others for face-to-face interaction, also appears to increase the likelihood of experiencing depression. This may be due to both a greater predisposition to live in an unhealthy manner (poor hygiene, poor diet, use of legal or illegal drugs, etc.) because there is less incentive to maintain a good image and/or a healthy living environment.
It may also simply be due to a lack of stimulating or novel experiences.. If we are always alone, we are more likely to end up living the same kind of experiences, and doing the same things, until we reach a point where we no longer expect anything good in the future. And as far as we know, depression is based on a vicious circle in which we settle into a way of life marked by a lack of stimuli and by our inability to "connect" emotionally with projects that in other circumstances would have interested us or even excited us.
For this reason, many forms of psychotherapy are based on helping the person to become actively involved in stimulating activities again, however simple they may be at first, in order to gradually gain "inertia" and regain the ability to enjoy.
Are you seeking professional help for depression or low mood?
If you think you are suffering from symptoms of depression or you feel bad because you experience a low mood in your day to day life, we suggest you contact our team of professionals. At Psicomaster we have many years of experience offering psychotherapy to people of all ages, and currently in addition to attending in person at our facilities in Madrid, we also perform online therapy through video call platforms. To see more information about our psychology center and Psicomaster's contact details, access this page.
- Hagen, E.H. (2003). The bargaining model of depression. In P. Hammerstein (Ed.), Dahlem workshop report. Genetic and cultural evolution of cooperation (pp. 95-123). MIT Press.
- Huang, Y.; Li, L.; Gan, Y.; Wang, C.; Jiang, H.; Cao, S.; Lu, Z. (2020). Sedentary behaviors and risk of depression: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Translational Psychiatry, 10: 26.
- Nesse, R.M. (2000). Is Depression an Adaptation? Archives of General Psychiatry, 57(1): pp. 14 - 20.
- Oettingen, G.; Mayer, D. & Portnow, S. (2016). Pleasure Now, Pain Later: Positive Fantasies About the Future Predict Symptoms of Depression. Psychological Science, 27(3): pp: 345 - 53.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)