I am continuing on my blog series called The Low Down. I haven't done a post in this series for a while so if you are new to reading my posts, I basically just write my opinion on things in this post. I've written about things like student housing, friendships and being a fussy eater before, and this time I'm going to be writing about toxic positivity.

long grass by the sea
Image by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.

What is Toxic Positivity?

Before looking into toxic positivity, and hearing a few things about it on social media, I didn't know anything about it. 

"Toxic positivity is the assumption, either by one's self or others, that despite a person's emotional pain or difficult mindset" - Dr Jaime Zuckerman, clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania. Read the full toxic positivity article on healthline.

Toxic positivity has become even more prevalent in the pandemic. How often have you told someone you are having a tough time to be faced with responses like "it could be worse" or "everyone has that" or even "you should feel lucky?" You may have even responded in this way to people.

It supports the rhetoric that we are not allowed to feel sad or in a bad mood and we must try to feel positive and think positively. It's not possible to think positively 24/7 so why, as a society, do we try to push this?

What can we do about Toxic Positivity?

I think it's definitely important first and foremost to recognise toxic positivity. Before reading about it, I wouldn't have even known that it can be harmful to people and a lot of the time, people believe they are helping by trying to make other people think positively.

Obviously, it is great to have a positive mindset and, I'm just saying that it's impossible to expect this from people all the time and if you or your friends are feeling down, it's important to look after yourself and recognise that you are down so you can deal with the emotions, rather than just pushing them away while trying to be positive.

Change your approach

Start with yourself. If you're feeling down then remember that's ok and hopefully you will feel more positive another day - remember to go easy on yourself and treat yourself with kindness. 

As for being there for others, if someone is coming to you with a problem or they are feeling sad, think about how to approach this. Instead of trying to get them to think positively, just tell them you are there for them and it's ok to feel sad now and again. Ultimately, if someone is coming to you with an issue, they will be reassured that you are there for them, there is no need for saying things like "it's ok, you have nothing to be upset about," as we spoke about earlier.

Just to reiterate - positive mindsets are GOOD and it's great if you are mostly positive. However, not everyone has that mindset all the time and it can do more harm than good to try and force people to look on the bright side when they are feeling low.

What are your thoughts on toxic positivity?


  1. I've never heard the term toxic positivity before but the definition of it is definitely something that I'm familiar with, especially in lockdown! I completely agree that recognising when you're feeling down and telling yourself that it's okay to feel that way and that tomorrow you may feel different is a great start x

  2. I've only recently heard about toxic positivity and what it is and it's surprising how damaging it can be! This is such a great post lovely x

    Lucy |

  3. I've only recently heard about toxic productivity and didn't know much about its definition so this was such an interesting post to read.

    Tash - A Girl with a View

  4. This post is so important to write about! I'm definitely guilty of toxic productivity and it's only recently that I've learnt to take breaks and accept my emotions x

  5. Thanks for sharing, I have not heard of this toxic positivity before, so learning about this is good :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

  6. I have 100% felt like this during the pandemic, and didn't know it was a thing! Thank you for the insight, and showing that it is normal to feel like you can't be annoyed about something as someone has it worse. xx

  7. This was a very interesting read! I had heard of toxic positivity before, but understand more now after reading about it. It can be harmful as it doesn't show reality of all you can feel. Thank you for sharing x

  8. I hate toxic positivity, it's absolutely BS. Not acknowledging pain or the hard parts of life is never going to help you grow! x

  9. I didn't even realise this had a name! I really despise when people give that approach to me, luckily it hasn't happened often! You're allowed bad days and you're allowed to seek help or approach your friends to discuss it and it's unfair for them to just be like "well so and so has it worse" because it helps no one!

  10. I've heard about this before and can definitely relate to it happening to me in the past. It's so hard because the person doing it might not even know :/

    Caroline |

  11. I have only heard about toxic positivity recently but have absolutely experienced it in the past. It ends up making you hesitant to share any struggles as you feel almost judged for having a small problem in the scheme of things.
    Really informative post.

    Sophie |

  12. This is so great. A lot of people don’t recognize they are giving you toxic positivity and how it can affect relationships, even close once!

  13. Definitely agree that we can't be 24/7 positive and feeling good. I try to be positive but I also like to acknowledge the days when I feel otherwise. I try to be mindful when someone tells me they are feeling low or negatively. I try to listen and not say things like cheer uo or could be worse. It's invalidating feelings.

  14. I'd heard about toxic positivity before- but I didn't realise this is what it means! I agree that we have to allow ourselves to feel bad sometimes- and yes, someone is always going to have it worse during a pandemic but that doesn't mean you're not allowed to feel sad! I'm going to make sure I'm not being positively toxic when people tell me their concerns, and I love this post :)

  15. We're certainly more aware of our ups & downs here, and then what we can do to change the path a little.