It’s our 1 year anniversary! We can’t believe that we have been writing for a whole year now. This past year has been pretty good for Courtney and I. We got to go on an amazing 2 week adventure together in Europe and we are in the midst of planning our Spring Break trip and another trip back to Europe next summer! We have learned a ton about blogging through the blogging community and through trials and errors of our own. It’s been a pretty great ride altogether and we wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!
All that aside though…we want to talk to you guys about toxic positivity and how it can affect you and your self care journey. I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is toxic positivity?? I thought positivity was a good thing and it is… until you’re facing that person or thought that is constantly telling you to be happy and no one has time for your negative feelings. It’s very easy to fall into a toxic positivity cycle. I’ve fallen into this a lot. It just winds up stressing you out and making you think that you can only have one emotion or there’s something wrong with you.
What is Toxic Positivity
Toxic Positivity is the idea that there really should be no other emotion but happiness. You’ve probably heard ‘positive vibes only’ or ‘I have no time for anything else but happiness today’ a million times when scrolling through social media. Those are terms that are associated with toxic positivity. Being positive isn’t a bad thing until you’re constantly seeking positivity. If we constantly focus on being happy then we don’t actually accept and deal with the other feelings that are all a part of human nature.
“When people place a great deal of pressure on themselves, or feel pressure from others, to feel happy, they are more likely to see their negative emotions and experiences as signals of failure,” Brock Bastian, a social psychologist at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences in Australia, said in an interview with TIME. “This will only drive more unhappiness.”
How to Handle Toxic Positivity
Research shows that if we are constantly focusing on being happy that when we do have negative feelings, they’re so much worse or we can’t properly deal with them. You might be thinking that the no negativity #positivevibesonly posts on social media aren’t bad in the least. However, when you’re someone that has mental health issues like anxiety or depression then it can turn an already off day into something way worse. Why can’t we share our bad days on social media just like we share our good days? It’s the strive for perfection that social media puts on all of us that makes us hesitant to post about our negative feelings. I’m just as guilty of only posting on good days. Below are some tips that will help you take charge of your emotions and not shove them down into the abyss of your mind.
Take the emotion that you’re feeling and write it down as your topic. Then write down everything that comes to mind when you think of this emotion. Soon you’ll have enough to try and make sense of what you’re feeling and if you don’t that’s ok. Knowing exactly why you feel the way you do can be hard to decipher. Just know that you aren’t alone and that it’s just human emotion and it isn’t a permanent emotion.
Feel/Deal With Your Emotions as They Come
Don’t bottle them up or squish them down. I’m really bad about doing this. I will bottle my emotions up until they turn into irritation at every little thing. Learning to let go and feel your emotions while you’re in the moment is a big help for anyone. Bottling things up will eventually wind up treating you about as well as a mento in a diet coke.
Surround Yourself with People Who Understand
There’s a fine line between encouragement and being toxic. Surround yourself with people who tell you that what you’re feeling is ok and it’s ok to have emotion. You’ll see a big difference when you have people that will commiserate with you, instead of constantly telling you get over it and be happy. Those friends may not have the answer to everything that you’re feeling, but they’ll never tell you to get over it or to just be happy. They’ll curse the winds with you and ask if there are any bodies that need to be buried (joking…maybe).
Don’t Hide How You Feel From Yourself
You might not want to broadcast your feelings to other people, like blasting the coworker that is on your last nerve. Just don’t suppress your feelings entirely. Something as simple as naming the feeling is a lot better than pretending not to have it — or exploding without thinking.
Get Help With Difficult Emotions
Sometimes, you encounter a tough emotion and instead of covering it up and putting on a happy facade, try to seek some help. If you find yourself stuck in feelings of sadness or worry for more than a couple of weeks, or if you feel so upset that you think you might hurt yourself or other people, you may need extra help. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help. Getting help for yourself when you realize that you can’t cope is the first step to a healthier mindset.