June 8, 2023

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Toxic positivity not so positive | Life

3 min read
Toxic positivity not so positive | Life


Poisonous positivity, like other oxymorons, appears implausible. How is it doable for a little something inherently good—like a favourable mindset—to be dangerous? But like other oxymorons (e.g., only alternative, jumbo shrimp, awfully good), poisonous positivity is real. And as we all know, you can have much too substantially of a great issue.

To be crystal clear, acquiring a optimistic angle is not synonymous with toxic positivity. On the contrary, fostering a good mentality can be a seem coping system. In simple fact, learning to recognize and modify negative wondering patterns is the cornerstone of cognitive-behavioural remedy for despair and anxiousness conditions.

In accordance to a modern PositivePsychology.com article, toxic positivity is “maintaining that a person really should have a beneficial way of thinking and exude only beneficial emotions and ideas at all occasions, specially when matters are challenging. This tactic is harming simply because it special discounts and discredits thoughts that are not optimistic.”

Extra simply just mentioned, toxic positivity is believing you should really answer to all situations with a constructive angle, no make a difference how damaging or distressing they are.

Toxic positivity shows up in numerous approaches, these types of as dismissing, staying away from, or pushing away adverse emotions earning reviews that reduce or invalidate a person’s psychological encounter, and chastising another person for expressing damaging feelings. With poisonous positivity, damaging thoughts are prevented at all costs. It is the “positive vibes only” mentality, and it’s not nutritious.

Poisonous positivity negates the fact that all emotions are valid and provide a purpose—even adverse emotions such as disappointment, disappointment, grief, aggravation, and anger. Disregarding or suppressing damaging thoughts frequently has a harmful effect on our bodily and psychological health.


Consider about the circumstance just before responding. There are situations when sharing a bit of positivity is absolutely proper. But, when a particular person is likely as a result of a complicated time and is genuinely upset, being extremely optimistic can lead to far more harm than great. Remind you that destructive thoughts are not inherently undesirable and that the man or woman will have to have time to work by their condition.

Avoid making use of ‘feel-good’ phrases. Be on the lookout for sense-superior phrases these kinds of as seem on the brilliant aspect, cheer up, continue to be good, it could be worse, and all the things comes about for a rationale. Even though these phrases are perfectly-supposed, they really don’t just take a person’s pain away. Alternatively, they typically result in sensation invalidated, misunderstood, and dismissed, and as even though one’s inner thoughts do not matter.

When a man or woman is upset, choose alternatively for validating phrases, these kinds of as “This should be tough for you,” or “That’s hard, I’m sorry you are heading by means of this.”

Focus on giving support. Permit the individual know you are there for them and ask how you can support. For illustration, “Do you want to communicate about it?” “I’m listed here to listen,” “Is there just about anything I can do?”

There is definitely a time and spot for a constructive mental outlook. But there are also cases exactly where experience and doing work by damaging feelings is the nutritious issue to do. So, move in excess of “positive vibes only” and make home for “it’s okay not to be okay”!

Want to discover far more about poisonous positivity? Look at out these ebook and podcast suggestions by PositivePsychology.com:

  • Toxic Positivity – Theo Tucker
  • Vivid-Sided: How Constructive Imagining Is Undermining The us – Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Psychological Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Improve and Thrive in Perform and Existence – Susan David
  • Handle My Thoughts: What I Want I’d Learned in College About Anger, Anxiety and Like – Kenneth Martz
  • Be Good: F*ck Toxic Positivity – Briah Fleming
  • Podcast on the risks of poisonous positivity — Dr. Susan David with Brené Brown

Shifting the Conversation is a regular monthly column by Jennifer Sullivan, Psychologist and CEO of Sullivan + Associates Medical Psychology, that focuses on normalizing psychological health troubles by way of education and community awareness. It seems on the Healthstyle website page on the 2nd Tuesday of each and every month.

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