Toxic positivity is on the rise – but what is it and why is it harmful?

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In recent years, self-help gurus have popularised the idea that thinking positively brings a host of benefits. But a growing school of thought suggests relentless positivity can have a potentially harmful side.

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Toxic positivity can mean we fail to process emotions like sadness, fear and grief that ultimately help us heal. Altering reality for Instagram likes or pretending everything is always okay may cause deeper issues in the long term. 

Psychotherapist, John-Paul Davies, says rather than bypass difficult emotions, we should give space to such feelings. 

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For chartered psychologist, Dr Lynda Shaw, there is no such thing as good or bad feelings - all can be valuable. She says chronic physical pain could worsen over time if ignored and the same can be true of mental health. 

While there is a growing consensus that toxic positivity could actually make people less happy in the long term, those whose minds are dominated by overly negative feelings may need to seek the help of professionals. 

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