Simple tricks to deal with toxic positivity
Dr. Neha Gupta

Dr. Neha Gupta

Feb 03Mental health

Simple tricks to deal with toxic positivity

In the previous article we talked about what toxic positivity is and how it unleashes upon us.

Now let’s get to what we can do to recognize it , and remove the “toxic” part to actually implement positivity in a healthy and realistic manner.

 

“The dark doesn’t destroy the light, it defines it”

-Breanne Brown.

 

Various studies have been conducted that clearly shown that when 2 groups of people were shown a movie, also assessed on various physical parameters, and one group was asked to withhold the emotions. The group which was asked to withhold or suppress the emotions had significantly deteriorated cognitive abilities. (the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses``)

While the group who was asked to be expressive about the emotions they were feeling; seemed to show amusement and more understanding.

A better example would be, if you were to bake a cake, one of the most important steps is to measure out the right quantities of the various ingredients, or else, you’ll end up with a very imbalanced and unstructured cake that might not taste good at all. Suppose add a little too much sugar, you would get a sunken cake that’s too sweet.

Now how do you fix this? There are two ways . Do you accept the fact that you did add a little too much sugar and then take the necessary steps to fix it to get the delicious cake you set out to bake or do you just force yourself to believe that the cake will be alright and that there’s nothing wrong with it? Which one do you think is actually going to help you get the desired cake?

Obviously, the latter, right?

You see, our mindsets have to be dealt with in a similar way, or we’re just going to put unnecessary effort into it with no actual result.

Yes, being optimistic is beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you just ignore your difficult emotions. We have to realize and embrace that sometimes, “It’s okay, not to be okay.”

 

“Avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering “- Mark Manson

 

Awareness and acceptance of negative emotions are the first step to making progress. It’s necessary to look inwards, do a little searching and realize what we feel. This will open ways for us to make amends and feel better. We need to be verbal about these things to either ourselves or anyone we trust and release them.

This gives us the ability to accept the truth and be realistic about whatever it is that’s bothering us, instead of suppressing it and hiding behind a mask. Once we respect our feelings, we embrace our actual selves; This leads us to the path of a stable emotional life.

As we accept all our negative attributes and emotions, we give ourselves the golden opportunity to work on changing them and moving towards personal growth.

“Be the change that you want to see in this world”

-Mahatma Gandhi.

toxic positivity

How to be there for others?

If you notice someone you care is going through a tough time, here’s what you can do to help them:

 1. Listen - Repeat back with empathy. This doesn’t mean just nodding your head and acting like your listening. You actually need to lend your ears and try to understand what the other person is saying.

 2. Validate – Support them and tell them that, what they’re going through is real and actually happens and that their feelings are absolutely valid.

 3. Be there – Show them that no matter what they’re going through, they can come to you and talk about it, and you will be there to listen.

You can apply the tips mentioned above to yourself as well.

The things we speak of and our inner monologue play a vital role in the way we perceive the world around us.

You can further replace a few forceful and unrealistic statements with realistic ones. Here are a few examples:

“Don’t worry, be happy” to “I see that you’re really stressed, is there anything I can do?”

“Failure is not an option” to “Failure is part of growth”

“Everything will work out in the end” to “this is really hard; I am thinking of you”

“Positive vibes only” to “I am here for you, both; through good and bad”

P.S: I personally feel the T-shirts which say “positive vibes only” should also be replaced with “all vibes are welcome”.

As Indians, most of us have watched the movie “Munna Bhai M.B.B.S” and the beautiful lessons of compassion it teaches. We see how Munna helps a lot of sufferers with just one “jadoo ki jhappi” (which translates to a “magical hug”) reminding us that love can do wonders in the most amazing ways.

A genuine hug, a shoulder to lean on, or a trusted listener can really work like magic…

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

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