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How Toxic Positivity Can Impact Your Life

By Sara Butler

Have you heard the term "toxic positivity" before? It's something that seems to be popping up in a lot of places, but what is it? And how does it impact your life?

Chances are, you encounter toxic positivity. And even though positivity is in the name, it's not a good thing -- as evidenced by the toxic categorization. Here's what you need to know about this phenomenon and how it can impact your mental health and wellness.

Toxic Positivity: What Is It?

Toxic positivity can be quite subtle and may take some time to figure out. The people who do it are often well-intentioned, but when you break down their statements, what they're essentially doing is denying you the support you need to cope with something in your life in the form of platitudes.

Some common examples of toxic positivity include when you express concerns about something significant in your life and someone replies with "just try to stay positive" or "it could be worse." It can also take the form of someone trying to explain away something difficult as that "everything happens for a reason" or telling you that you have to choose to be happy.

As mentioned, people usually do not mean any harm by saying these things, but they still are harmful responses to give to someone who may be struggling with something in their lives.

Signs of Toxic Positivity

It's important to learn the signs of toxic positivity so you can recognize it. The most obvious signs that someone is doing this to you include:

  • Feeling guilty about being disappointed, sad, or angry
  • Disguising or hiding how you really feel
  • Brushing off feelings or situations instead of dealing with them
  • Shaming others when their attitude isn't positive
  • Minimizing the feelings of others because the feelings make you uncomfortable
  • Hiding behind more socially acceptable feelings or feel-good quotes
  • Trying to be strong and just get over painful emotions

Why Is Toxic Positivity Bad?

You may be wondering exactly why doing these types of things or getting treated in the ways described above are not good for you. It's a fair question. After all, toxic positivity may simply be something you've dealt with for a long time. However, recognizing it now is important because:

  • It works to shame people
  • It can cause others to feel guilty
  • It avoids authentic emotions
  • It denies growth

How you feel is valid and it's important to surround yourself with those who show you authentic support -- and to offer the same.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.

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