“Toxic positivity involves dismissing negative emotions and responding to distress with false reassurances rather than empathy” – UW Medicine. If you have not heard the term “toxic positivity”, than you may not even realize that how it has effected your life. Family, friends, teachers, and peers often throw out a “it will all be okay in the end!” on some of our toughest days. The thing is, MOST of us WANT to think more positively. We do not WANT to be bogged down by negativity, lethargy and sadness. How can you be a more positive person, without turning to toxic positivity that is almost never sustainable or healthy?
I’ll be honest…I am not an expert on this. But through research and a lifetime of trial and error, I have compiled this list of “non-toxic” approaches to reaching a higher vibration of energy in my life. The goal is to retrain our brains to see the good more often.
One: SERVE OTHERS
The number one way to be a more positive human being is to be a GOOD human being. Whether you are a believer in karma, heaven, energy, or some other return on your investment into others, serving without expectation of any return will always yield a more positive mindset.
Looking for ideas? Make a meal for a neighbor, offer to babysit for a friend or family member, offer a compliment to a friend, send flowers to your grandma, volunteer at your kids school, make care packages for someone in need. There are endless opportunities to serve when not being paid. So often we pour into the people that are paying our bills, but at the end of the day…that is a different transaction. Do good recklessly.
Two: PRACTICE GRATITUDE
How often do you REALLY look around and put energy into feeling truly grateful for the goodness in your life? Social media can make it easy to fall into the comparison game, or make us feel like we are drowning in dispair.
The reality is that sadness in the world and in our lives can coexist with gratitude for what is good. In order to cultivate a more positive mindset, we have to find the time in our day to be grateful.
This is not to suggest that we dismiss when things are hard, because they often are. Imagine your water heater breaks. You can’t take a hot shower and your morning is ruined. That trickles down into your entire day. What if you took just a moment to feel gratitude that you have a place to live? What if you felt gratitude for every other day that you DID have hot water? What if you reminded yourself that you will find a way to get that water heater fixed, and how grateful you are that you have the ability to find a way, even when things are hard? Being irritated, sad, devastated, furious…ALL of the negative emotions can co-exist with gratitude.
Three: MEDITATION & BREATHEWORK
Again, I am not expert here, but focusing on my breathing and meditating ALWAYS allows my brain to think more positively. Meditation helps to rewire your brain, and a healthy brain is more likely to see the good.
Four: REDUCE TOXINS + EAT A MORE NUTRITIOUS DIET
I could go on for days about this, but I will simply put that when I eliminated alcohol from my diet and began focusing on nutrition mindset vs. being “healthy”, things have greatly improved for me. Our friend Ali Catto, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner can help with this!
Five: PROTECT YOUR PEACE
Stop saying yes to things you don’t want to do or will be damaging for your mental or physical health. Stop allowing people that are genuinely toxic take up mental space. Know that some people in our lives are there for seasons, and some people are forever. Stop working at a job that sucks every ounce of joy and gratitude from you, leaving you a shell that collects a paycheck.
Six: PRACTICE RADICAL SELF ACCEPTANCE
THIS is a work in progress for everyone. This is not about “self love”, this is about accepting who you are, where you are, and being OKAY with it. Even when you aren’t feeling kind. When you feel ugly and tired and worthless. Accept that where you are is just fine. You are enough.
Caitlin Thomas is the Founder of Beyond Boss, a professional photographer, and a mama of two. She is passionate about helping other women make more time for living and enjoying life, without sacrificing their dreams and ambitions.