Positivity is great. Life is too short to focus on the negative all the time. However, there is such a thing as toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is when we try to downplay or invalidate our negative emotions. We tell ourselves things like “Oh, it’s not that bad” or “It could be worse.” while pushing down our feelings until they explode later.
Toxic positivity creates an environment where it’s not OK to not be OK. We put on a brave face and pretend everything is sunshine and rainbows when inside we’re sad.. We need to learn how to balance being positive with acknowledging our negative emotions.
One way to do this is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. When we’re mindful, we can observe our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. This allows us to work through our emotions in a healthy way instead of bottling them up until they explode later. Take a minute to enjoy your surroundings. Maybe take a few minutes each day to step outside and notice the birds, the sounds, the colors. Appreciate the little things in life that make you happy. These moments of joy will help balance out the negative emotions you’re feeling.
It’s important to be thankful, but it’s also OK not to always feel thankful. Negative emotions are a part of life too—and by being mindful of those negative emotions instead of trying to sweep them under the rug with toxic positivity, we can learn more about ourselves and become better equipped to handle those emotions when they do come up. Additionally, mindfulness has many benefits like reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting our moods overall. There are many ways we can bring mindfulness into our daily lives—including practicing meditation or mindfulness exercises, keeping a journal, or simply by slowing down and taking time each day to appreciate our surroundings. So next time you’re feeling down, remember that it’s OK—and try some mindfulness exercises to work through those negative emotions.