What Is Toxic Positivity And How Is It Harmful?

By Nadia Murdock

Being told to have a positive attitude all the time could be causing more harm than good. This is called toxic positivity which is the obsession of positive thinking. Putting a positive spin on everything doesn’t always work.  With this type of mindset you are denying yourself access to certain emotions that go against being positive. Not allowing yourself to feel can create stress and anxiety in the body which will ultimately result in long term trauma.

You still may be asking yourself how is positive thinking a bad thing? Toxic positivity can create a sensation of feeling trapped, with the inability to be honest about your feelings with yourself and with others. Generally speaking true happiness and joy can be a wonderful thing. The lines get blurry when you find yourself forcing these emotions, which in actuality causes you to feel the exact opposite.

Side effects from these overwhelming “good vibes” can result in you ignoring your problems, hiding painful emotions, dismissing others and their feelings and/or feeling guilty for being anything but happy.

You should never feel bad about how you are feeling, allowing yourself to feel your emotions is the only way that you will heal and find true happiness. If you are finding it hard to deal with toxic positivity below are a few coping strategies that can help you cope with these circumstances.

How to deal with Toxic Positivity. 

Recognize how you feel. Forcing yourself to feel joy are not your true feelings. Take a moment to have an honest conversation with yourself and acknowledge whatever emotions come up. This will allow you to heal and start the process of moving on.

Demonstrate support to others: Helping others will ultimately allow you to help yourself. Giving support to someone going through a difficult time without using toxic positivity cliches can assist you in pinpointing what you need when you need support.

Be realistic about your feelings: Have you asked yourself how you are feeling and not how you should feel? Having in depth honest conversations can help you focus on the steps that need to be taken to improve your situation in a realistic way.