Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ - Deepstash

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Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/toxic-positivity-mental-health-covid/2020/08/19/5dff8d16-e0c8-11ea-8181-606e603bb1c4_story.html

washingtonpost.com

Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’
Excessive forced happiness exacerbates negative emotions and prevents people with genuine problems from working through them.

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Forced positivity

Forced positivity

"Look on the bright side." Amid a pandemic and widespread social unrest, experts caution us against phrases like these that are not only unhelpful but also toxic.

While cultivating a positive mindset is a good coping mechanism, putting a positive spin as the only way to cope is harmful. It's like forcing more ice cream than you can eat with the hope that you will feel even better.

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Toxic positivity denies reality

Positivity makes people appear more well-adapted and popular with their peers.

The issue is not the people who are genuinely upbeat but when people are forced to appear positive in situations where it's not natural, like illness, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, or racial injustice.

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Damaging effects of toxic positivity

Forcing positivity denies a very real sense of despair and hopelessness and alienates those who are struggling.

Internalizing these messages can also be damaging. We judge ourselves for feeling negative and then feel bad for feeling bad. It postpones any healing or move toward problem-solving.

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Addressing negative emotions

Research shows that accepting negative emotions may be more beneficial. Recognize that how you feel is valid. It's okay not to feel okay. Don't feel pressured to attempt lofty tasks such as picking a new hobby.

Make the best of it by accepting the situation as it is and doing the best you can. If you want to support another person, ask them what kind of support they would like and ensure to validate their emotions.

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Forced positivity

Suppressing or avoiding our difficult emotions is not healthy or helpful.

Doing this impairs our capacity to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. And this leads to lower levels of resilience, lower levels of wellbeing, and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Labeling difficult emotions

An important way of dealing with a difficult emotion is to label it effectively.

Labeling your emotions more accurately helps you understand the cause of those emotions and triggers your ability to set goals and to make real concrete changes.

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False positivity

We are caught up in a rigid culture that values positivity.

However, when we put aside our difficult emotions in order to embrace dishonest positivity, we fail to discover skills that can hel...

Tough emotions are essential for living

How we deal with our emotions affects how we love, how we live, how we parent and how we lead.

We should not view our emotions as good or bad, positive or negative. We need our emotions for real resilience.

Moving Beyond Emotional Rigidity

When we go through tough situations, we cannot ignore our negative emotions with the hope that they don't matter.

Write down what you are truly feeling in a personal notebook. Move beyond the rigidity of denial.

A relentless focus on positivity is ineffective

When someone is going through a hard time, insisting they stay strong is ineffective.

Research suggests positivity often has the opposite effect: It makes them feel bad abo...

The shallow bonds of positivity

Seeking out people who draw out the positive side only can make you feel alone in your moments of vulnerability.

The relationship becomes a performance of happiness and creates a wedge between you.

The signs of misplaced positivity

Be aware of how your friends react to your sunny attitude. If it makes them perk up, you are doing good.

However, if your encouragement makes them withdraw, your positivity might be misplaced.