According to Brock Bastian – author of The Other Side of Happiness: Embracing a More Fearless Approach to Living(2018) and a psychologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia – the problem is partly cultural: a person living in a Western country is four to 10 times more likely to experience clinical depression or anxiety in a lifetime than an individual living in an Eastern culture.
In China and Japan both negative and positive emotions are considered an essential part of life.
Sadness is not a hindrance to experiencing positive emotions and – unlike in Western society – there isn’t a constant pressure to be joyful.
This thinking could be rooted in religious upbringing.
For example Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophy – which has been extensively studied by Western psychologists such as Paul Ekman – calls for recognising emotions and embracing pain as part of the human condition.
It places emphasis on understanding the nature of pain and the reasons that lead to it.
Many modern psychological practices such as dialectical behaviour therapy now employ this approach of recognising and naming emotions in treating depression and anxiety.