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Toxic Positivity: The Downside of Being Too Upbeat

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Posted at 9:48 PM, Jul 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 21:48:10-04

ORLANDO, FL (Ivanhoe Newswire) --- Seeing the best in every situation may not be the best for your mental health. It’s called toxic positivity. It’s the belief that no matter how dire a situation is, you must maintain a positive mindset. A recent poll found more than 75 percent of people said they often ignore their emotions in favor of being happy.

“It's this idea that we're constantly a hundred percent looking at the bright side and it can be toxic because we're not giving ourselves space to feel that negative emotion. You wear rose colored glasses for everything, it's going to be fine. So, your friend tells you they lost their job. Oh, it's okay, you know, don't worry about it. You'll get another one,” says psychologist Tracy Alloway.

An extensive study at Stanford University found that denying negative feelings as a coping mechanism was linked to higher levels of depression. Another study found that people felt sadder when others expected them not to feel negative emotions.

Alloway says, “It’s not allowing your brain to process those negative emotions.”

Signs of toxic positivity are hiding and masking your true feelings. Trying to “just get on with it” by dismissing your emotions, feeling guilty for feeling what you feel, and brushing off things that are bothering you with an “it is what it is” mentality. A better approach to dealing with sadness is allowing those emotions to propel you into action.

“That's where active positivity comes in, where you can acknowledge that, but feel that you can be proactive,” said Alloway.

Experts also suggest developing better habits. Try more productive steps when you’re bored instead of binging on Netflix. Lastly, build higher-quality friends and get rid of your fake ones.