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What Is Toxic Positivity and How to Avoid It

Toxic positivity is the belief that it is always best to think positively and that any negative emotions or experiences are inherently bad. This can lead to people downplaying or invalidating their own experiences and those of others. If you’re struggling with negative emotions, it’s important to reach out for help from a trusted friend or professional.

It’s simple to get caught up in the notion of constantly being optimistic, yet optimism may occasionally be harmful. Here are some strategies to avoid toxic positivity:

1) Stay Transparent in Your Relationships

It’s important to be honest in your relationships about how you’re feeling, both the good and the bad. Toxic positivity can occur when people put on a false facade of happiness in order to avoid being seen as anything other than positive. Toxic positivity creates unhealthy relationship dynamics.

2) Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions

It’s a key step to allow yourself to feel your emotions and not bottle them up. Toxic positivity can occur when people try to push away their negative emotions, which can lead to psychological problems down the road. This doesn’t mean dwelling on them but simply acknowledging their presence and then moving on.

3) Practice Mindfulness 

One way to become much more aware of your emotions is to practice mindfulness. This means being aware of what you’re feeling in the moment, without judgment or trying to change it. Simply observe and accept your emotions, whatever they may be. It can be helpful to meditate or do some other form of relaxation exercise to help you focus on the present moment.

4) Recognize Your Interpersonal Mistakes

We all make mistakes in our relationships with others. It’s important to recognize when you’ve made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Although it might be challenging, sustaining healthy relationships requires doing this. Ask your partner or a close friend for their honest opinion if you’re unsure whether or not you made a mistake.

5) Get Counselling to Unpack Your Feelings

There is just absolutely no shame in seeking professional assistance to unpack your feelings and work through challenges in your life. Counselling can healthily equip you with the tools and support you need to understand and cope with your feelings. Consider discussing the idea with a trusted friend or family member about how you can approach a service or contact a professional in that field directly.

6) Know How to Healthily Express Your Emotions

When you’re feeling down, it’s important to find healthy ways to express your emotions. Everyone has a unique and personal way of coping with things, which can be through writing in a journal, talk therapy, or even spending time alone. Finding a way to healthily express your emotions is important so that they don’t build up and become overwhelming.


If you find yourself engaging in toxic positivity, try to take a step back and focus on the more realistic aspects of your life. Toxic positivity can lead to unrealistic expectations, unhealthy comparisons, and a general feeling of inadequacy.

Looking for Calgary counselling services? Virtuous Circle Counselling offers individual counselling, adolescent counselling, family counselling, and more. Get in touch with us today!

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.