Featuring expertise from Katie McKenna & Dil Wickremasinghe, and narrated by Clinton Liberty, RTÉ's Mental Health Lessons is a series of short mental health lessons that everyone can benefit from.
'Positive vibes only' may sound like a good mantra for life, but sometimes positivity isn't such a positive thing at all.
There is such a thing as toxic positivity, and it's what we're talking about in today's mental health lesson.
When we try to talk about our worries, stresses, or how we're feeling, and are simply told to "stay positive" or "look on the bright side", this response can encourage us to push down our emotions or stop talking about our issues with others altogether.
Although these messages are meant to be helpful, you can actually come away feeling worse.
Toxic positivity is bad for our mental health because it is dismissing and minimizing our own experiences and emotions. There's nothing wrong with having a positive outlook or viewing things as the glass half full. But toxic positivity is being positive at all costs, even in the face of a difficult situation. It is denying what we are experiencing and denying our own emotions.
People often try to label emotions as good or bad. When we feel joy, we let that emotion come with excitement. But will often push away emotions like sadness or fear. But in truth, there are no good or bad emotions. They're all a normal part of life.
If you want to give somebody else a safe space to share what they're going through instead of jumping to be positive, try listening.
For more information on how to offer support, please contact your local mental health services.
If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, please visit: www.rte.ie/helplines.