Depressive symptoms, lies about your well-being … Be careful not to fall into “toxic positivity”

Depressive symptoms, lies about your well-being … Be careful not to fall into “toxic positivity”

Depressive symptoms, lies about your well-being … Be careful not to fall into “toxic positivity”

Always seeing the glass half full instead of half empty is an indisputable quality. But if you’re the type who never complains, even when you face a severe test of life, you risk falling into a dangerous trend that could harm your mental health: “toxic positivity”.

“Let’s stay positive”! A mantra that we hear more than ever in these gloomy times and in an era that places personal development and positive thinking first.

Psychologies undeniably good for the mind, but also perceived as an injunction to happiness that ends up becoming counterproductive, with the risk of falling into “toxic positivity”.

Pretend you’re happy

According to psychologists who have studied the matter, toxic positivity means repressing all negative emotions, to the point of pretending to be happy and always assuring those around you “that all is well in the best worlds”. But in the long run, the fact of repressing what one feels and not dealing with one’s mental illness can favor the appearance of depressive symptoms.

“Living your emotions is fundamental. Suppressing them or avoiding them is not the right solution. Trying to avoid them at all costs, in fact, will not give the desired effect. On the contrary, they will tend to come back more often and in a more intense way”, explains in the media The Conversation, Andrée-Ann Labranche, PhD student in psychology at the University of Quebec (Montreal).

But at a time when positive thinking is very successful and openly showing one’s anguish or negative feelings (especially after the pandemic) seems less and less tolerated in society, it is not always easy to express and externalize what we feel.

Lack of honesty

According to a recent survey conducted by market research start-up Appinio based in Hamburg (Germany), 60% of French people think that the injunction to happiness is increasingly significant in society.

According to the survey, 28% of French people tend not to honestly answer the question of how they are, probably for fear of being perceived badly. This is especially true during parties (62%) or big “happy” events such as a wedding (61%), but also with the family (59%) or at work (57%).

Not to mention social networks: 72% of respondents admit that they feel compelled to show a positive attitude when visiting these media, especially Facebook (41%) and Instagram (22%).

* Study conducted by Appinio from 6 to 9 July 2022 with 1,000 respondents

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