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Toxic Positivity: An Elixir OR A Venom for Well Being & Mental Health?

Optimism or Positive approach towards life is a key to move along with the challenges that we face in continuum in our daily lives. It certainly helps us to keep moving towards a goal. It comforts our inner desirable thoughts over pessimistic pool of thoughts. “Stay Positive, Think Positive, have a positive approach, be optimistic” are the frequent argots that we often hear from our friends, family, and colleagues even when certain situation is unacceptable, harmful, or discerning and more so if situationpersist for long.So, now the question arises that if a particular situation is not conducive to sustain then why is one supposed to or advised often by others to think positive? Here comes the role of toxic positivity. Toxic Positivity is nothing but a belief system of mindsets that no matter how worse the situation tends to be one should maintain a positive outlook towards it. It discards all kind of negative emotions and feelings instead welcomes frequent untrue positive cover-ups and dismisses true expression of feelings or emotions. Toxic Positivity takes our thinking pattern to risky overgeneralizationswhile ignoring, denying even a speck of unhappy, unpleasant, or pessimistic emotions. Isn’t that true that we all experience painful emotions, feelings of disgust, being cheated, being blamed even if it is not one’s fault- a kind of gaslighting effect, humiliated by others etc.? Why are not these emotions though disagreeable are allowed to feel, discussed openly and honestly with integrity of acceptance to attain better physical & mental health? Having a “good vibes only” approach towards life and dumping negative emotions blocks the genuine support people are looking for to cope with. We are living in the world of digital age, social media where without any reason we come across the various uplifting, mind soothing, inspirational quotes/phrases/sayings posts for free. Looking at these quotes and phrases shuts down the realistic and pragmatic thoughts about a discerning situation amplifying the untrue and false reassurances.

What are the side effects of Toxic Positivity?

People who are drowning in the sea of toxic positivity seek to share their true, genuine emotions and feelings with others and looks for unconditional support to sail through the difficult times. But instead, people who faces toxic positivity find their feelings shelved, disdained, unnoticed, or absolutely quashed.
  • Optimism or Positive
  • It invites feelings of shame
  • It lacks acceptance of genuine human emotions
  • It prevents our psychological growth
  • It cuts down our confidence
  • It lowers our drive and motivation for life
  • It leads to psychosomatic troubles like headache, pains, gastric butterflies, anxiety, worry, depression, fear etc.
  • It causes gaslighting effect by creating a false narrative of reality, often leading one to stop acknowledging their true feelings and loads one up with blame, fault, and disgust.
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What are the side effects of Toxic Positivity?

Deal with the uncomfortable situation welcoming your realistic thoughts might be negative but practical in nature. Forcing thoughts of positivity when one feels negative can ding-dong your mental health. Multiple evidence from various research suggests avoiding negative emotions instead of allowing them makes one feel shoddier later.
  • Do not Ghost your own emotions & feelings to haunt you later instead allow and resolve.
  • Do not let others to shut you down with positive affirmations/idioms whether intentionally or unintentionally neither you do the same. One cannot gel with others if trying to pacify someone in their grief/sadness or anger instead can cause alienation and disconnection. Let oneself & others to feel and express their true feelings and emotions instead of trying to fix them with illusional toxic positivity when the situation is not appropriate.
  • Put a quell on toxicity positivity by explaining others what exactly you are looking for at that moment instead of their impractical positive advice.
  • Be vigilant on the toxic statements and put out all the stops to let yourself and others to feel both your positive and negative emotions. This would help not only you to make clear what you want or seek from them but also set their emotional mindset as per the situational demand.
  • Jot Down Your negative emotions during hard times. Make a Journal/ Do SWOT analysis and try and talk to a relevant person or try and create an amicable situation to solve it.
  • Manage Your Negative emotions if they are core Negative and intense by mindfulness or simply watching movies/songs or nurturing your hobby but at no cost Block them from popping up.
  • Understand that both positivity & negativity are the two aspects of life. Sometimes it’s a golden shiny sun and sometimes it’s a grey cloud area. Both have their role to play not only in season change but also in our lives and its challenges thrown.

The Bottom Line is, “It is sometimes Positive to be Negative”.

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