Ein gelbes Smiley-Gesicht auf einem lebendigen, abstrakten Hintergrund aus Blau- und Orangetönen. Der Smiley wirkt glücklich und fröhlich, während der Hintergrund eine Mischung aus dynamischen und chaotischen Farben zeigt, was einen Kontrast zwischen oberflächlicher Positivität und komplexen Emotionen darstellt.

Toxic positivity

When too much optimism does harm


Toxic positivity describes an attitude that only allows positive feelings and thoughts but ignores or devalues negative emotions. While healthy positivity, i.e. optimism, maintains a positive view of situations and accepts negative experiences as part of life, toxic positivity leads to emotional stress and psychological problems. This form of exaggerated optimism is often used as a defence mechanism to suppress unpleasant feelings.

What is toxic positivity?

Toxic positivity can be seen as a form of denial and repression. People who display excessive positivity avoid dealing with negative emotions. That leads to distorting emotional communication and intimacy in relationships, as honest feelings are censored to satisfy an idealised self-image.

Why is toxic positivity harmful?

By suppressing negative feelings, toxic positivity leads to emotional stress, anxiety and depression. This attitude prevents the development of a healthy and integrated self that accepts both positive and negative aspects of life. The result is an increasing alienation from the true self and an imbalance in the psyche.

Signs of toxic positivity

Toxic positivity is characterised by the constant “disinfection” of negative thoughts and the compulsive reinterpretation of negative experiences. Affected people feel compelled always to appear cheerful and often respond to negative comments with platitudes such as “Think positive!” or “It could be worse”. This lack of empathy leads to superficial relationships.

Particularly vulnerable groups

People who are under constant pressure to present a perfect life on social media and those with low self-esteem and insecurity are particularly at risk. Occupational groups exposed to high social and professional expectations, such as managers, public figures and healthcare professionals, are also susceptible to toxic positivity.

How can you overcome toxic positivity?

Healthy self-acceptance and recognising your actual needs are crucial to overcoming toxic positivity. It is essential to accept all positive and negative emotions and express them authentically. Professional support through therapy can help to raise awareness of unconscious conflicts and develop healthy strategies for dealing with emotions.


Toxic positivity can lead to severe psychological problems and disrupt emotional communication in relationships. By learning to recognise and accept all our feelings, we can develop a more authentic and holistic self that integrates both positive and negative aspects of life.

toxic positivity

Comma-separated keyword list (German)

toxic positivity, exaggerated optimism, repressing negative emotions, emotional stress, psychological problems, healthy positivity, defence mechanism, denial, repression, emotional communication, intimacy in relationships, idealised self-image, anxiety, depression, self-acceptance, therapy, dealing with emotions

Google Snippet (German)

Toxic positivity – When too much optimism does harm

Toxic positivity causes emotional stress and psychological problems. Negative emotions are repressed – with long-term effects.

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