Toxic positivity is the belief that focuses only on positive emotions and on the positive aspects of life and as a consequence, ignores sadness, anger or other negative feelings; It encompasses the things we need to be able to live a much happier and healthier life.
Toxic positivity is something we should talk about more as it is a wide spread damaging behaviour. It oversimplifies the way we process emotions and it fosters an unbreakable positivity which does not leave room for negative feelings or anything that may not be working out in our daily lives. As a result, we are unable to face nor solve our problems, thus leaving us without the capacity to grow from them.
The effects of toxic positivity on our mental health can be destructive. People are encouraged to remain silent about their struggles and as time passes by they can become oblivious to them. This attitude can in fact lead to more stress and increase our difficulties in facing problems and proceeding negative emotions, making us more anxious and sad. Moreover, with an increase in stress and anxiety, toxic positivity also fosters isolation and communication problems as well as a low self esteem.
This “Good vibes only” approach to life tends to minimise and invalidate the authentic experience of human emotions and it leads to a situation of denial and dangerous minimisation.
Toxic positivity can be found in everyday life and it shows up more frequently when we feel like we are losing control. The signs of toxic positivity could be the feeling of guilt for our own emotions, the minimising of other people’s experiences and invalidating their feelings, or even shaming others for expressing their true feelings.
While having a positive attitude towards life is important and healthy for you, exaggerating this behaviour by not allowing any other feeling can become as harmful as not being optimistic at all. Ways to spread positivity in a healthier way can be achieved through; sharing the load with someone, being accepted and acknowledged by others and vice versa and also by practicing “active-listening”. The reason why I bring up “active -listening” is because communication is key, it is in every other aspect of human life and it is at the bases of human development and evolution, essentially it is in our DNA.
Expressing how we feel, even if it is an accumulation of bad feelings, makes us feel better and more liberated, which leads us to have control of our emotions and to promote self love. Negative emotions can help us to get to know ourselves as well as others better! It is through these negative emotions that we are able to learn and to create strong bonds and connections.