There have been a lot of posts and discussions about toxic positivity during the pandemic. Dr. Lukin (2019) defined toxic positivity as a concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. In a culture where smiling, laughter, and happiness is usually seen as the ‘norm’, the concept of toxic positivity may easily be dismissed. Statements such as, “Just be happy!” or “Good vibes only.” seem to be mentioned (or posted) as a response to people expressing their emotions (especially frustration) in this period of uncertainty. According to Wong (2020), toxic positivity delegitimizes the very legitimate worries people have about their health, their family and friends’ health, and putting food on the table while unemployed or worrying about job security.
The pandemic surely caught everyone by surprise. Everyone is faced with a myriad of problems and challenges, though the effects of these changes are felt in various degrees. Sustaining a healthy mindset when we are constantly exposed to toxic positivity may be difficult, but possible. Based on the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, here are some ways to maintain positive emotions:
- Practice gratitude.
- Do activities you enjoy.
- Be aware of how you use your time.
- Identify and learn about your character strengths.
- Get in touch with people you have not spoken to for a while.
- Spend time with the people you care about.
- Be involved in a cause or organization that matters to you.
- Be authentic.
- Challenge yourself.
- Celebrate your success – with yourself and with others.
Feel free to mix and match, and create your personal formula of keeping a healthy, positive mindset during the pandemic. You might even discover things you’d like to add to the list. So act as if what you do makes a difference… it does (William James).