March 23, 2022

Toxic Positivity

“Toxic positivity” has become a buzzword, but what does it actually mean and why is it that we feel a need to put a silver lining on all of our rain clouds? In this episode we unearth the science behind toxic positivity and how an obsessive desire to stay positive can actually hurt us in the long run.


God never gives you more than you can handle.” “Look on the bright side.” “It could be worse.” These are platitudes we’ve all heard and we all know are (to say the least) less than helpful.

So why do so many of us feel a need to put a good spin on things when disaster strikes, and how do we break out of that habit? We talk about our own experiences with toxic positivity, what we’ve learned from them, and what we’re still working on.

In this episode, we discuss:

·      How overvaluing positives functions as a survival mechanism

·      Why toxic positivity actually makes us less happy

·      How to counter toxic positivity and how to stay graceful towards people who offer us outlooks we may not want or need


Here are links to some of the articles we discuss in this episode:

Brock Bastian and Ashley Humphrey for The Conversation: “How to avoid ‘toxic positivity’ and take the less direct route to happiness”

Allyson Chiu for The Washington Post : Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s okay not to be okay’

Elizabeth Bernstein for The Wall Street Journal : Toxic Positivity Is Very Real, and Very Annoying


Links to other episodes that mention toxic positivity:

Fresh Take: Kate Bowler on the Truths We Need To Hear

Fresh Take: Taylor Harris on Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown


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