Toxic positivity comes from the belief that, despite an individual’s emotional pain or challenging situation, they should still adopt a positive outlook. It denies, invalidates and delegitimises emotions that aren’t ‘happy’ and includes phrases such as “turn that frown upside down”, “it could be worse” or, a social media favourite, “good vibes only”.

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Studies have shown that suppressing feelings can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression in the long run. More effective is trying not to label emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, instead recognising that it’s okay to feel sad, angry or frustrated, and remembering that emotions will eventually pass.

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Asked by: Ian McMahon, Scunthorpe

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Authors

Stephanie Organ
Stephanie OrganScience editor and writer

Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and a Master’s in Science Communication, and has an interest in health and wellbeing.

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