Time to Ditch ‘Toxic Positivity'
Experts say, ‘It’s okay not to be okay’
In the midst of a raging pandemic and widespread social unrest, these days it can feel as if reassuring platitudes are inescapable: "Everything will be fine;" "it could be worse” or "look on the bright side.”
But as well-intentioned as those who lean on such phrases may be, experts are cautioning against going overboard with the “good vibes only” trend. Too much forced positivity is not just unhelpful, they say — it’s toxic.
“While cultivating a positive mind-set is a powerful coping mechanism, toxic positivity stems from the idea that the best or only way to cope with a bad situation is to put a positive spin on it and not dwell on the negative,” said Natalie Dattilo, a clinical health psychologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It results from our tendency to undervalue negative emotional experiences and overvalue positive ones.”
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