Toxic Positivity, also called Forced Positivity, can hinder our mental health as it leads to emotional suppression. Eminent Psychiatrist Dr. Devendra Save sheds light on the condition.
Toxic Positivity is not Optimism
Dr. Save explains, “Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. It’s a “good vibes only” approach to life. And while there are benefits to being an optimist and engaging in positive thinking, toxic positivity instead rejects difficult emotions in favor of a cheerful, often falsely positive, facade. We all know that having a positive outlook on life is good for your mental well-being. The problem is that life isn’t always positive. We all deal with painful emotions and experiences. Toxic positivity takes positive thinking to an overgeneralized extreme.”
Avoiding Toxic Positivity
Dr. Save enumerates how to evade Toxic Positivity:
Embrace all emotions and be authentic
All feelings are valuable and contribute to our human experience. Even ‘negative’ feelings like anxiety, anger and fear are primitive responses that our brain releases to keep us safe from threats. Honor your emotions and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel.
Social media does not project a true reality
If you’re going through a tough period, avoid getting engrossed in social media and remember that more often than not, it projects a false reality of eternal happiness and perfection. Toxic positivity has also flourished because of social media, which often only shows us at our best in the moments we want to share.
Don’t compare yourself to others
We have all had varying life experiences that have shaped us and we deal with things differently. If your friend responds to something in a contrasting way than you that does not make your response wrong.
If you are talking to others, listen
Take the time to understand what is wrong, rather than invalidating their feelings with toxic positivity.