Toxicity – It’s something you find in chemicals, sci-fi movies, and sometimes even in your exes! Sorry to bring up your ex, but did you know there’s something called ‘Toxic Positivity’?
Yes, positivity can be toxic too.
We all have heard the advice that basically tells us to ignore dire circumstances and “just chill.”
“Watch a comedy movie.”
“Try making more friends.”
While these pieces of advice may have utmost care at their core, they can be troublesome for someone going through difficult times. Why? Knowingly or unknowingly, they are tainted with toxic positivity.
Toxic positivity is the belief or obsession that a person must stay positive and be happy whatever the circumstances are. In any tragic situation or a life-altering incident, a person must have a positive mindset and not be upset.
On the surface, it sounds good, right? Let’s go a little deeper into what it truly means.
What is Toxic Positivity?
We already know that our mindset can affect our physical health. Negative or positive attitudes can both affect our health and make it better or worse. Research has shown that people who work in more stressful jobs tend to be more at risk of heart diseases.
While the mind-body connection is a strong one, it is also crucial for us to let ourselves experience our natural emotions. Toxic positivity forces us to be in a jolly mood even when something isn’t right in our lives. It takes optimism to the next level, and that’s not very healthy for anyone.
Toxic positivity can hold an unbelievably high expectation on someone to avoid dire situations and just smile. Every time life throws a curveball at you, be brave, look life in the eye, and say, “I’m good.” But sometimes, it’s okay not to be good, and in the words of Demi Lovato, it’s “OK not to be OK.”
There are some ways to recognize toxic positivity when you see it or hear it. Here are some examples of toxic positivity:
- Telling someone, “Everything happens for a reason.” after a traumatic incident.
- Urging someone to focus on the positives all the time.
- Nudging someone to “just get over it.”
- Saying someone is stronger only because they are positive.
- Pushing someone constantly to be better and “win” at life despite a difficult event.
So we discovered how we can recognize and define toxic positivity. Let us now look into why toxic positivity can be problematic.
Too Positive? Toxic Positive!
An excessively positive mindset can have various dangerous consequences for your mental as well as physical health. It might cloak some of the mental health issues you’re having and need help with. Some of these adverse effects are noticeable, and some are not. For the noticeable ones, here are a few.
Misconception of harm
Recent studies have found that an overly optimistic attitude has minimized the idea of harm for victims of domestic violence. They have trouble recognizing real danger and also seeking help.
Invalidating real emotions
By forcing a happy face on, you indirectly invalidate your true feelings. You suppress your feelings till they come out in other, sometimes irrational, ways. These feelings can take several forms, like lashing out or physical and verbal abuse.
There is a lot of shame put on a person for expressing their grief or hurt. People also tend to be biased towards someone with mental illnesses. According to the American Psychiatric Association, people do not seek help even when they know they need it due to this stigma around mental health.
By putting constant pressure on someone to smile, a person feels typically guilty when not happy. This can lead to self-loathing and low self-esteem.
These are some reasons why toxic positivity is a harmful choice in life. Recognizing these habits and changing them to better ones can help us in our journey of self-improvement.
So wait for a second! Suppose we need to unlearn our old ways of “being positive.” In that case, there have to be ways to be more realistically optimistic. Unlearning our old habits can take time, but we sure have a few ways by which you can be mindful and a better friend to yourself.
How to Avoid Toxicity and Stay Positive
1. Pressure doesn’t always make diamonds.
It’s debatable, but many would agree that the pressure to stay positive all the time is not benefitting anyone. Taking this pressure off and allowing yourself to feel all emotions is one way to combat toxic positivity. This rids you of the guilt and the shame of having to put up a happy face at all times.
You can still “shine bright like a diamond” without the pressure!
2. Positive Affirmations FTW!
In a world where positivity is valued and cherished, it can be difficult not to be pressured. However, any time you feel low or a surge of negative emotions, taking a moment to repeat positive affirmations to yourself can work wonders. Some of these are:
- I’m allowed to feel grief/ hurt/ sadness.
- I choose to let my emotions be.
- I deserve to rest when I need it.
- I’m okay with feeling uncomfortable emotions that need to be felt.
3. Salute General Journal!
We’re sure you’ve already heard of journaling. Journaling is the practice of writing down our feelings and circumstances without any judgment. Journaling can be a great release for your negative emotions and an outlet for your regular frustrations. General Journal won’t judge you or ask you to justify your feelings.
4. Mindfulness, Meditation, and More!
Mindfulness and meditation can be amazing tools for stress relief. Studies have shown that mindfulness has proven beneficial for people with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even physical ailments like fibromyalgia and psoriasis.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and being aware of your emotions, even negative ones. It allows you to sit with your feelings and process them or just let them take up space.
Meditation focuses on self-reflection and concentrating on one thought or object to attain a calmer state of mind. This can involve mindfulness, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques. Here is a simple breathing exercise you can try for beginners.
5. Self-Care is the Best Care!
Self-care is underrated. It goes beyond the bubble baths and scented candles, and skincare routines. Self-care includes:
- Maintaining a proper sleep schedule.
- Having healthy meals.
- Building a healthy mind space.
- Expressing gratitude.
- Allowing yourself some nature time.
- Making time for your hobbies, and much more.
6. Negativity… makes you happy?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, accepting negative emotions leads to better mental health and psychological state. Accepting all mental experiences has been shown to predict more significant relief from anxiety and depressive symptoms.
When you allow yourself to feel all emotions, you allow yourself the time and comfort you need to process them. So sometimes, negativity does make you feel better.
7. Simple Heart-to-Heart!
No, we don’t mean you make small talk and avoid your problems. A more efficient way to process your emotions is to talk about your experiences with someone you trust. This someone can be your close friend, family member, or if need be, a professional.
Talking about your problems and discussing them can help you let them out, find new perspectives, and even gain insight into yourself.
8. Be Assertive and Say No!
Being assertive means communicating with people without seeming rude or hurting their feelings. It includes expressing your needs, communicating clearly, saying no when necessary, sharing opinions with confidence, and validating others’ feelings.
Practicing assertiveness can help you retain the time and energy required to take care of yourself when needed. A simple ‘No’ can be a good start in learning to set boundaries for yourself. Boundaries help you put yourself first and provide the care you need.
So be like Meghan Trainor and say “No” to toxic people!
You can avoid toxic people, but what about toxic remarks? Harmful statements can be misunderstood, and unknowingly we can also make the mistake of saying things that fall under toxic positivity. Whether you want to help someone in need or learn more about non-toxic acceptance and validation, here’s a list that helps you with both.
Rizzle with Positivity
Positivity at Rizzle has many facets. We promote and believe in a community that spreads positivity. Some of the ways in which Rizzle supports a positive outlook are:
No comments; no trolls
By eliminating the comments section on our app, we aim to have a troll-free, no negativity community.
Respond with love
You can record your own video appreciating the creator by using the ‘Respond’ option when you like a video.
We have an open ground for creators from all walks of life. Our community is accepting of all and welcoming to newcomers.
You can hop on our app, and you’ll find Templates for every occasion, Filmi with songs of multiple languages, and creators of all communities.
Optimism is a beautiful thing to have in life, but toxic positivity is not. It has been in and around our conversations for a long time due to its subtle undertones. But we believe it’s time for a change.
Practicing mindfulness and allowing your emotions space to flow through you is the best way to overcome toxicity. And we hope you make the best choices for yourself.
What steps have you taken to be more mindful? Comment below and let us know!