Why the Term “Positive Psychology” May Contribute to Toxic Positivity

Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on studying positive emotions, experiences, and traits in order to enhance well-being and promote flourishing in individuals and communities. This is mostly done by developing and emphasizing strengths and resilience.

However, there is a risk that the term “Positive Psychology” can lead to toxic positivity. This is because the term can be misleading and may be used to promote an unrealistic view of the human experience.

The word “positive” implies that negative emotions and experiences do not exist, which is not true.

Toxic positivity is the belief that people should always maintain a positive outlook, even in difficult circumstances. This can be harmful because it can invalidate or deny genuine feelings and experiences. It can also cause individuals to suppress negative emotions, which can be detrimental to their mental health. To read more about Toxic Positivity, read the article “How to Spot and Avoid Toxic Positivity“.

It is important to recognize that positive psychology should not be used to dismiss or invalidate negative emotions. Instead, it should promote a balanced perspective that acknowledges both positive and negative experiences as part of the human experience.

The term “Positive Psychology” may be flawed because it implies that positive emotions should replace negative emotions. It is more accurate to use a more inclusive label, such as “Well-being Psychology”, which acknowledges both positive and negative emotions, feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

Regardless of the name given to this field of study, it is important to research and understand mental health methodologies before adopting them. This will help individuals improve their well-being without causing additional problems for themselves or others.

If you would like to learn more about Positive Psychology, its benefits, and how it can help you, read the article “What is Positive Psychology”, or contact me for a one-on-one session.