Toxic positivity versus a positive mindset

Toxic positivity versus a positive mindset

Toxic positivity versus a positive mindset is the subject of today’s post, which is very close to my heart. More importantly, it is especially relevant when you are working to achieve set goals or working to manifest your dreams.

Toxic positivity

Recently, while delivering a workshop about manifesting your goals with Reiki, we touched upon the topic of toxic positivity.

To maintain and sustain a positive mindset, it is important to know that it is natural to have negative thoughts. After all, if you did not, how would you know if something is safe?

Cultivating a positive mindset is recognising this and observing your thoughts. As a result, when you realise that you are catastrophising or creating your worst case scenario, you then have the option to stop. Stopping will decrease your negative feelings that grow as a result of remaining on what I call the ‘drama roundabout’.

What is a drama roundabout?

A drama roundabout is a place in your mind where you are either worrying about the past or future. Each rotation or a new thought is growing your negative feelings. You are most certainly not using your senses to see and feel what is good around you. Therefore, how can you see the truth of your situation when riding your drama roundabout. Unfortunately, at the height of my anxiety, I was living my entire life going round and round, and round, and round. Subsequently, I was constantly suffering feelings of impending doom.

Thankfully, here I am on the other side, sustaining a positive mindset. Subsequently, I walked away from my unfulfilling career and I’m successfully running my own business. Also, and more importantly, I do have negative thoughts on a regular basis. Sometimes, I have a little anxiety because life is not easy however, problems do not remain for long. I’m perfectly adept at finding solutions and working through them.

My path of spiritual healing and recovering from ‘general anxiety disorder’, helped me to develop and maintain a positive mindset.

What is toxic positivity?

If you are left thinking that to survive you need to have a positive mindset, this is toxic positivity.

If you believe that you must never think negative thoughts again, this is toxic positivity.

Negative thoughts have their rightful place. You should always observe them, assess them, work with them, and then let them go.

Toxic positivity encompasses the notion that regardless of the situation, the solution lies within adopting a positive mindset. However, it is imperative to highlight the detrimental effects associated with such a perspective.

Recently, especially during the pandemic, there was an explosion of influencers talking about the importance of remaining positive. Generally, this is OK providing they recognise that it is OK to not be positive.

Social media allows people without certification or long-term experience to voice their views to the public. Unfortunately, sometimes the information that they are providing is not formulated well, or balanced.

In addition, well meaning friends and relatives discourage us away from feeling negative by telling us to be positive. They use phrases such as, it could have been worse, or look on the bright side. Unfortunately, toxic positivity does not allow for the feeling and more importantly, the processing of negative feelings.

The effects of toxic positivity

Unfortunately, when someone is suffering with anxiety and depression it can be common for them to only hear phrases like this. Of course, people care and they too could be suffering with watching their loved one suffer. However, telling them instead, that it is OK to feel this way, and asking how they can help, is a much better alternative.

In my darkest days, I succumbed to the spell of toxic positivity.

Subsequently, I felt like a failure when all I would hear and read is to remain positive.

Believe me, I tried to be positive all the ‘****ing time‘.

Sometimes, it just isn’t easy to be positive, especially if you have a hormonal imbalance like menopause for example.

Upon reflection, if I had realised that it is OK to be thinking negatively, as a form of healing and knowing what I should be doing, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up. Perhaps my spiral of catastrophising would have stopped a lot sooner.

What is a positive mindset?

Firstly, achieving a positive mindset is acknowledging the normality of having negative thoughts.

Secondly, paying attention to your thoughts is also achieving a positive mindset.

Recognising when you have jumped onto your drama roundabout, allows you to step off and back into your present moment. Practicing mindfulness and meditation helps you to achieve focus with a balanced perspective.

Thirdly, observing your thoughts and recognising that you have lost focus on your present moment allows you to challenge your thinking.

What is the real truth of your situation?

For every negative thought, can you find a positive opposite? If you sit and contemplate this question, you will be surprised at what you will uncover. Furthermore, instead of feeling the negative emotion, feel the opposite emotion. Allow your hope and optimism to grow.

Where there is fear, you can use courage to grow.

Where there is hate, you can use love to heal.

Summarising Toxic Positivity Versus a Positive Mindset

To summarise, maintaining a positive mindset is accepting that you will have negative thoughts.

Understanding that every situation in life is temporary as the wheel of life continues changing, provides you with hope and optimism going forward.

Working with your negative thoughts to find a solution is essential as it will deliver relief.

Toxic positivity however does not take any of the above into account therefore, it is a toxic belief thinking that you must never have a negative mindset.

I hope this helps you. If you would like to work with me to manage anxiety or manifest your goals, please get in touch.