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Welfare Week 2023 | Toxic Positivity vs Genuine Optimism

When we talk about mindset, it can be easy to fall into the trap of toxic positivity when talking to yourself and supporting others. Read on to find out more about what toxic positivity is and its more helpful counterpart genuine optimism. To help support you we've put together some handy tips to avoid toxic positive language and have a healthier relationship with your own mental well-being!

Toxic positivity involves the belief that you should always have a positive mindset and demeanor even when you’re in a difficult or upsetting situation. This mindset means you're putting on a façade and denying some emotions that everyone should be allowing themselves to feel. It leaves you feeling guilty and doesn’t give you the validation you deserve.

Whereas genuine optimism involves not avoiding pain or upsetting emotions but welcoming and understanding them. Genuine optimism is all about seeing reality and acknowledging all emotions. Feeling all the highs and lows of life! This then ends up forming a mindset of genuine positivity instead of fake positivity.

To change what you say to yourself from toxic positivity to genuine optimism:

I need to suck it up.

What I feel matters, I know I will eventually feel better about this but for now, I am allowed to feel upset.

Get a grip.

It's okay to ask for help.

People have it harder than me.

I need to listen to myself and feel what I’m feeling.

I need to hide these emotions that I'm feeling.

Everyone experiences a range of emotions, it’s okay to let it out in front of people.

I shouldn't feel this way, be positive.

Being sensitive is not a weakness.

I'm so behind so I need to force myself to work.

I’m giving myself time and space to rest so I can be more productive.

To change what you say to others from toxic positivity to genuine optimism:

It could be a lot worse.

I’m here to listen to what your going through.

Everything happens for a reason.

Life is full of ups and downs, you are allowed to feel down now and you will feel better soon.

Look on the bright side.

Do you want to talk about it so you can work through it?

Good vibes only please.

Let it all out, it’s okay to cry and be upset.

Smile more.

I’m sorry your going through this.

Just be positive.

That must be really hard, I'm here to listen.

It's important to create a space for yourself and others feel their true emotions will help you gain a more realistic view of your reasons for being optimistic!

It's ok to still be learning how to do this, if you need extra support you're always welcome in the Students' Union to chat, or you can get support from the Student Welfare team; check out their portal to see what's on offer below

If you want to learn more why not join one of our Look After Your Mate workshops where we cover from learning more about our shared experience and right up to tips on having boundaries to help you support yourself and others! Check out the What's On the calendar to see if there are any sessions available, the next one will be running from 12 - 2 pm in the Students' Union on Friday 21st April 2023 as part of Welfare Week!



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