Good Vibes Only? Why Too Much Positivity Can Actually Be Bad For Your Health

What is toxic positivity, and why exactly is the "good vibes only" mantra harmful to your health?

Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. This can be incredibly harmful, because it creates a pattern of denial of any negative emotions - and bottling up these feelings can cause memory issues, anxiety, depression, and high stress.

In this week's episode of How 2 Deal, we're breaking down toxic positivity and sharing exactly why negative experiences are important to growth.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING - BRITNEY SPEARS, "TOXIC"]

- I'm addicted to you. Don't you know that your toxic?

- Today, we're going to talk about toxic positivity.

- I feel really depressed.

- Have you tried smiling, or laughing, or going outside?

- Toxic positivity involves one focusing on the positives and only the positives in life.

[MUSIC PLAYING - PHARRELL WILLIAMS, "HAPPY"]

- You are taught that, if you want to have a happy and fulfilled life, you need to bottle up anything that is perceived as negative and pretend it doesn't exist.

- Your job is to make sure that all the sadness stays inside of it.

- This can be harmful, because it creates a pattern of denial and invalidation of the emotions that we associate with negativity, such as anger, sadness, and jealousy.

- Humans are meant to feel emotion. And if we deal with the negative ones, the positive ones will be stronger. Remember that before you tell someone--

- You're feeling depressed? Oh no. You just have to count your blessings.

- Good vibes only.

- Well, you should be happy.

- Simple responses usually aren't the right antidote for bigger feelings.

- Of course, these isolated statements aren't toxic positivity. But when you continue to approach our negative emotions with these statements, it starts to create a pattern.

- I'm fine.

I'm fine.

I'm fine.

I'm great.

Totally fine.

Who else is fine? Because, really, I'm fine.

- Too much positivity can actually be bad for your mental health.

- It can cause memory issues, as well as anxiety problems. It can lead to depression and higher amounts of stress. A 2013 study by the University of Rochester and Harvard School of Public Health, it was found that people who bottle it all up and inside have a 70% higher risk of getting cancer and a 30% higher risk of premature death.

- Oh, my God, it's a slaughterhouse.

- It's OK to not be OK.

- Positivity and gratitude don't belong in every single moment that you exist.

- This type of shit completely invalidates the complexities of human experience.

- It often discourages other people from processing their emotions in a healthy way.

- Oh, my God, you have depression? It really sucks that you haven't chosen not to have that.

- Because deep down, at the end of the day, you know that things aren't good. So in your conscious mind, you're going to essentially that you're lying yourself.

- Hakuna matata?

- I can't just hakuna matata through my life. I need to actually deal with shit that I need to deal with.

- That's just an unrealistic outlook on life. We need those negative experiences to learn and to grow.

- Don't try to control how other people feel. Honor where they are standing. Say, you know what? I feel you.

- How can I support you? What do you need?

- I see where you're coming from, and that makes perfect sense to me.

- We don't want anyone to ever be there for too long, but sometimes, we need to be in that sadness for a little while. We need to feel our feelings.

- The key is acceptance rather than avoidance.

- Honor your true feelings. Work through whatever is bothering you, so then you can get to a true state of happiness and gratitude.

- Validate those feelings.

- Just make space for them to be human, and that's how you can really share love.

- Bad vibes are definitely allowed here.