What is Toxic Positivity? Effects and Tips to Avoid

Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Milton Campbell

What is toxic positivity? It is a term used to describe an overly positive attitude that can be counter-productive and harmful in the long run. Toxic positivity is when someone focuses on having only positive thoughts, without acknowledging the reality of their situation or the feelings of others.

This type of attitude can be seen when people are told to “just think positively” or “everything happens for a reason” in order to avoid addressing difficult emotions or situations. In some cases, it may even be used as a way to invalidate another person’s feelings and experiences.

Toxic positivity does not allow for any room for negative or uncomfortable thoughts, which can lead to further problems down the line. In this article, we will discuss what toxic positivity is, how it affects individuals and relationships, and how it can be addressed in order to promote healthy thinking and behavior.

Effects of Toxic Positivity

Too much toxic positivity can make us less mindful of our own needs and feelings, which can lead to increased anxiety and stress. It also makes it more difficult for us to express ourselves in healthy ways or to seek out help when needed. Rather than avoiding or denying negative emotions, it is important to acknowledge them, practice self-compassion, and take steps toward finding healthier ways of dealing with them.

Why Are Negative Thoughts Important?

Negative thoughts are an important part of our lives, as they can help us to identify and address problems. Negative emotions are a natural response to difficult situations and can indicate a need for change or growth.

By acknowledging negative thoughts, we are able to recognize and process underlying negative feelings that may otherwise be suppressed. This type of emotional awareness can lead to better decision-making and improved well-being overall. Suppressing emotions is unhealthy in the long run, so it’s important to pay attention to our negative thoughts and feelings.

Allowing ourselves to take the time and space needed to acknowledge, process, and address these issues can ultimately lead us on a path toward personal growth and resilience.

The effects on people around us

Toxic positivity has a negative effect on those around them, as it implies that there is something wrong with having negative feelings or showing any kind of vulnerability. It can also be damaging to relationships, as it implies that the struggle of others isn’t important or valid.

People who are around someone exhibiting toxic positivity may start to feel like they can’t express their true feelings, leading to isolation and difficulty forming meaningful connections. Furthermore, it can damage mental health by not allowing for authentic expression of emotion and preventing people from engaging in healthy coping strategies.

By allowing yourself and those around you to express a range of emotions honestly and openly, you are creating an environment where everyone can feel safe and supported.

Toxic Positivity vs. Optimism

Optimism encourages realistic, balanced perspectives on life, which allows for both good and bad experiences. This can help people remain hopeful in even the most challenging times, whereas toxic positivity may lead to denial, frustration, or an inability to cope with difficult situations. Therefore, it is essential to strive for optimism instead of toxic positivity in order to experience authentic happiness and resilience.

Ways to avoid toxic positivity?

Person smiling looking crazy

Understand all your emotions

It’s important to understand all your emotions, both positive and negative. Positive emotions can help you stay positive in tough times, while negative emotions can help you work through difficult areas of life.

By taking the time to identify and understand your emotions, you can more easily cope with them and adjust your behavior in ways that are beneficial for yourself and those around you. Learning to recognize and accept your feelings will not only help you to stay positive during difficult times but will also give you the tools to better manage any stress or anxiety that may come up as a result of your emotions.

Taking the time to process and understand what makes us feel a certain way is an essential part of being happy, healthy, and fulfilled.

Admit your mistakes

It is important to admit your mistakes and not succumb to toxic positivity. By ignoring or denying the mistakes we make, we are unable to learn from them and grow. It’s important to take an honest look at our actions and accept responsibility when we have made mistakes.

Forgiveness is also key in acknowledging our errors, as it allows us to move on from them and take steps toward making better choices in the future. Admitting our mistakes can be a difficult thing to do, but it can also lead to greater personal growth and understanding in the long run.

Let yourself feel all your feelings

Letting yourself feel all your feelings can be hard in a world of toxic positivity. It can be difficult to accept and express our emotions, especially when we are expected to always be positive and put on a brave face. But if we do not allow ourselves to process our emotions, they can become toxic and lead to severe mental health issues.

We must learn to take the time to accept our emotions, whatever they may be, and understand them instead of fighting against them. This is the only way we can truly grow as individuals and find balance in our lives.

Don’t ignore your emotions

colored clouds mixing.

It is important to acknowledge and accept our emotions, even when they are difficult. Ignoring them and trying to push them away with toxic positivity can have a damaging effect on our mental health.

It is impossible to stop yourself from feeling bad or sad sometimes, so rather than attempting to do so it can be more beneficial to take the time to sit with those feelings and process them. Acknowledging your emotions helps us understand our needs better and can help us make healthier decisions for ourselves in the long run.

It’s OK not to be OK

It’s OK not to be OK. We all experience tough times in life, and it is normal for us to feel overwhelmed by our emotions or situations. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that we are struggling, and it is important to recognize that no one can always be at their best.

Learning how to ask for help when needed is an important part of self-care and personal growth. When we understand that it’s normal not to be OK, we can create a safe space for ourselves and others to express their feelings without judgment or fear of being labeled as weak or inadequate. Creating an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance can help us learn how to better deal with our struggles instead of pretending they don’t exist.

Accept other people’s emotions

It is important to accept other people’s emotions, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. This does not mean that we should encourage toxic behavior or expect a positive outlook from everyone all the time. 

Instead, it means that we should be willing to listen to and honor the feelings of others without judgment. We should strive to create an environment where people feel safe expressing their feelings, no matter what they may be. In doing so, we can build stronger relationships and foster a more caring and understanding society.

Take a break from social media

Taking a break from social media can be beneficial for your peace of mind. It can be hard to pull yourself away from the constant stream of notifications and content, but it’s worth it in the end. When you take a break from social media, you can focus on things that make you feel more positive and productive. 

You can go for a walk in nature, read a book, or practice mindfulness. Taking time away from social media will help you clear your head and reset your vibes. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as staying connected with others online. Taking some time off from social media will allow you to reconnect with yourself and find joy in life outside of screens.

Take a pause

stop sign

Taking a pause is an important thing to do in life. We often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we forget to take a step back, relax, and enjoy the moments. Taking a pause can help us to be mindful and appreciate the present moment. 

It can also help us to avoid excessive positivity, which may lead to unrealistic expectations or have negative effects on our well-being. Taking a pause allows us to reset ourselves, reflect on our emotions, and spend time doing activities that bring us joy. Whether it’s taking a walk in nature, listening to music, meditating, or reading a book – taking a pause can provide us with much-needed relief from our hectic lives.

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