Toxic Positivity vs Tragic Optimism

February 22, 2022 Age - Adult & Parent

All in the Mind Podcast: Toxic Positivity, When Happiness Becomes Harmful

Toxic Positivity: being positive all the time to the extent that one refuses to acknowledge, or cannot acknowledge, hardships in daily life.

Tragic Optimism:  believing there is hope and meaning to be found in life, even in the face of hardship, loss and suffering.

From the podcast:

“You can embrace tragic optimism by making a daily effort to feel comfortable with feelings that are uncomfortable instead of what toxic positivity might lend towards where you would ignore these feelings and just focus on building positive feelings.” – Jessica Mead

“…recognise that being happy is a fluid thing. Some days we are going to be happy, some days we won’t, and in fact it’s those days we don’t which help us to really appreciate the days we do, that’s a really important thing to remember because often we forget that. It’s very hard to appreciate happiness if it’s just a constant.” – Brock Bastian

Mead’s own research has shown that tragic optimism is one of the biggest predictor’s of better well-being, along with gratitude, social support and time spent in nature.


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