Insights Into Teens

Insights Into Teens: Episode 185 "Toxic Positivity"

December 11, 2023 Madison and Joseph Whalen Season 5 Episode 185
Insights Into Teens: Episode 185 "Toxic Positivity"
Insights Into Teens
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Insights Into Teens
Insights Into Teens: Episode 185 "Toxic Positivity"
Dec 11, 2023 Season 5 Episode 185
Madison and Joseph Whalen

Positivity: a beacon of hope or a burden in disguise?" Get ready for a captivating journey as we, Joseph and Madison Whalen, untangle the complex web of 'toxic positivity' and its implications on teenagers' emotional health. Understanding the emotional landscape of teenagers is a nuanced affair and we're here to show you why. We share personal anecdotes and profound insights that shed light on the harmful effects of suppressing emotions and the importance of emotional agility.

Emotions are the language of our inner world, they provide us with invaluable insights into our needs and values. But what happens when we categorize them as 'negative' or 'positive'? We challenge this oversimplification and show you how engaging with a broad spectrum of emotions can nourish self-awareness and bolster effective communication. We promise you an enlightening discussion that will change the way you perceive emotions.

As we navigate through the treacherous realm of toxic positivity, we bring to light the therapeutic power of art and the role of supportive social circles in managing complex emotions. We share the perils of toxic positivity and emphasize the importance of art, music, and dance in processing intense emotions in a nonverbal way. Our aim is to equip teenagers with the right tools to traverse their emotional landscapes with resilience and authenticity. Join us for this riveting discussion - you don't want to miss it!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Positivity: a beacon of hope or a burden in disguise?" Get ready for a captivating journey as we, Joseph and Madison Whalen, untangle the complex web of 'toxic positivity' and its implications on teenagers' emotional health. Understanding the emotional landscape of teenagers is a nuanced affair and we're here to show you why. We share personal anecdotes and profound insights that shed light on the harmful effects of suppressing emotions and the importance of emotional agility.

Emotions are the language of our inner world, they provide us with invaluable insights into our needs and values. But what happens when we categorize them as 'negative' or 'positive'? We challenge this oversimplification and show you how engaging with a broad spectrum of emotions can nourish self-awareness and bolster effective communication. We promise you an enlightening discussion that will change the way you perceive emotions.

As we navigate through the treacherous realm of toxic positivity, we bring to light the therapeutic power of art and the role of supportive social circles in managing complex emotions. We share the perils of toxic positivity and emphasize the importance of art, music, and dance in processing intense emotions in a nonverbal way. Our aim is to equip teenagers with the right tools to traverse their emotional landscapes with resilience and authenticity. Join us for this riveting discussion - you don't want to miss it!

No Credits Rolled, where we play the games you love but rarely finish them!

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

An original podcast by a husband and wife team of self professed pop-culture geeks. It is a discussion about all things entertainment from movies and music to television and pop culture. We examine some of the more obscure aspects of the entertainment industry.

Create Harmony

This is a podcast about setting an intentional rhythm, savoring life’s blessings and...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Speaker 1:

Insightful Podcasts by Informative Hosts. Insights into Things a podcast network. Welcome to Insights into Teens, a podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today's youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years. Insights into Teens a podcast network.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Insights into Teens. This is episode 185, Toxic Positivity. I am your host, Joseph Whalen, and my confident and aware co-host, Madison Whalen. Hi everyone how are you doing today, Maddie?

Speaker 3:

I'm doing all right. How about you?

Speaker 2:

I'm doing spectacular Anything exciting going on with you.

Speaker 3:

I had a test today. That was interesting, I guess.

Speaker 2:

I heard we also got your class standings. Yeah, and you're whatting your class now.

Speaker 3:

Number two.

Speaker 2:

Number two, number two we're going to have to go after that number one spot there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

It's probably best not to try doing that, because it doesn't do wonders for the mental health.

Speaker 2:

True, I didn't say how we're going to do it, though.

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah. I might not want to admit that on the podcast. Coaching, coaching is what I'm talking about, although I'm pretty sure number one is Kenny.

Speaker 2:

Right, we can have a discussion with Kenny, but anyway, today we are talking about toxic positivity, and that sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to some people. The constant messages encouraging optimism and positivity are not always beneficial. While fostering optimism is fine, there is a concept known as toxic positivity, suggesting that an excessive focus excuse me on positivity can have negative effects. That's what we're going to be talking about today on this episode of Insights into Teens, but before we do that, though, I would want to take a moment to invite our listening and viewing audience out there to subscribe to the podcast. You can find audio versions of this podcast listed as Insights into Teens. You can find audio and video versions of all the networks podcast listed as Insights into Things Pretty much anywhere you get a podcast. I would also ask you to write in, give us your feedback, to tell us how we're doing, email us at comments at insightsintothingscom, check us out on x at insights underscore things, or you can get links to all those and all of our other social media links on our website at wwwinsightsintothingscom.

Speaker 2:

Shall we get started? Sure, here we go. So what is toxic positivity? The modern error is inundated with messages that advocate for an optimistic and positive perspective, often encapsulated in phrases like look on the sunny side or be positive. These notions are widely disseminated across social media platforms and self-help articles. While the intention behind these messages is to promote well-being and resilience, mental health experts are urging a more nuanced approach to their adoption. While fostering an optimistic outlook does indeed offer numerous advantages, the emergence of the concept known as toxic positivity underscores the potential drawbacks of unconditionally embracing positive emotions.

Speaker 3:

Optimism and positivity play crucial roles in enhancing mental and emotional health. These attitudes can facilitate coping with challenges, fostering a sense of hope and promoting overall well-being. However, when these messages are oversimplified and rigidly applied, without consideration for individual circumstances, they can lead to an unbalanced and unrealistic approach to emotions.

Speaker 2:

Toxic positivity encapsulates the idea that individuals should suppress or ignore any emotions that deviate from positivity. The belief is that by solely focusing on the positive aspects of life one can achieve perpetual happiness. Yet this perspective overlooks the intricate tapestry of human emotions and experiences. Emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration and fear are all natural responses to life's complexities, and they hold valuable information about our inner state that needs and needs.

Speaker 3:

Mental health experts. Caution against uncritically embracing toxic positivity for several reasons, suppressing negative emotions can lead to emotional invalidation and denial.

Speaker 2:

Not just a river in Africa.

Speaker 3:

Preventing individuals from authentically processing their feelings. This denial can impede personal growth, self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Moreover, constantly attempting to maintain a facade of positivity can be emotionally exhausting and create an unrealistic standard that is difficult to sustain.

Speaker 2:

The key lies in embracing a balanced approach to emotions, one that acknowledges both positive and negative feelings. True emotional well-being comes from recognizing that all emotions are valid and serve a purpose. By allowing ourselves to experience and express a wide range of emotions, we develop greater self-acceptance, resilience and emotional agility. This approach empowers individuals to navigate life's challenges with authenticity and a more comprehensive understanding of themselves and their emotions. Do you think that you and your experience have been I don't want to say victim, but have experienced this culture of toxic positivity?

Speaker 3:

I mean, yeah, I don't think I've experienced it in a very extreme form, but I do feel like the idea of suppressing your emotions has kind of If it wasn't really directed towards me, it's something I've probably imposed on myself the idea of not wanting to openly express emotions with certain people or in public. You know, you technically had the analogy that our emotions are basically like a boiling teapot If you keep it closed off for too long and by basically the equivalent of suppressing your emotions, if you let it build up consistently, it eventually explodes. Much like someone would explode emotionally if they had to consistently suppress their emotions.

Speaker 2:

Right, that's a good point. So, in your opinion, what impact does constantly maintaining a positive facade have on a teenager's ability to authentically process their true emotions?

Speaker 3:

I personally feel like consistently having a positive mindset would be very damaging to someone who wanted to authentically express their emotions. Now I know I'm not a ray of positivity and for a while I really wasn't a ray of positivity, and I can understand why. You know, like I was for a while, I was on the bad side of. I was on the opposite side of positivity, where I thought every day was terrible. That mindset isn't healthy and obviously I needed to eventually manage that and change that mindset. However, thinking every day is great or trying to force every day to be great, I feel like, is just as damaging.

Speaker 2:

And I would tend to agree with that. I mean, nobody has a perfect life. Nobody has a perfect day every day of their life. Life is about balance, not only just from a positive, negative emotion standpoint, but in general life is about balance, and if the pendulum swings too far to either side positive or negative there's implications to it. Have you experienced a situation where just flat out blind positivity was ever demanded of you, either in school, or maybe when you were in marching band, or even around the house? I mean our mommy and I, you know so, trying to basically tell you to be positive all the time and not deal with negative emotions.

Speaker 3:

I mean not directly, I'll say that much. I will say, though, there have been times where you've kind of had instances where there's like a bit of toxic positivity that slipped in. Obviously, you've told me that, like you know not to suppress my emotions, and you know I do take that advice to heart. However, there certainly are instances where you've told me that I should probably be thinking more positively, more around the times of when I was thinking more negatively. At that point it did kind of help, but even then I was not at a mindset where I was really willing to want to think positively, and the idea of forcing myself to think positively when I was, when I, when everything just seems so negative, was not really helpful.

Speaker 2:

You know I can. I can certainly see that I kind of remember some of those circumstances there and kind of the way I look at life in general when it comes to this sort of stuff is, the negative things that we have to deal with are challenges, just like anything else in our life, and learning how to deal with those challenges not only gets us through the challenges but it also teaches us valuable life lessons as well. So no matter how negative things are, there's always something positive that you can make out of it if you look for it. If you don't look for positive, I'm not, I'm not. You know what they're talking about from a toxic positivity standpoint is ignore something if it doesn't, if it's not positive or feign positivity, or feign, you know, fake it.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that they they mentioned is authenticity. You should always be authentic to yourself, but even in the times that we're at our darkest, lowest point, you should always be looking for that light at the end of the tunnel, hoping it's not a train. But you know, if you don't look for positivity, if you don't look for a way out of the quagmire that you can get into, then chances are you're never going to find your way out, because if you're not looking for the light, you're not going to find it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So that to me, is not toxic positivity. That's kind of that escape cause. When you get down into the dumpster, when you're depressed or you're negative or you feel like the world's against you, that's your way of trying to elevate yourself above it. So and and you know, maybe I didn't go about it the best way what do you tell us? What the pitfalls of toxic positivity are?

Speaker 3:

The core premise of toxic positivity is centered around the idea that negativity and discomfort should be ignored or suppressed in favor of a perpetual state of positivity. This approach tends to oversimplify the complexity of human emotions and experiences. It creates an expectation that individuals should consistently maintain a cheerful, optimistic demeanor, regardless of their genuine emotional state or the challenges they might be facing.

Speaker 2:

The pitfalls of toxic positivity become apparent when its implications are examined more closely. Emotional suppression, for instance, ignoring or suppressing negative emotions in an attempt to uphold a positive facade can prevent individuals from authentically addressing their feelings. This emotional suppression can lead to an accumulation of unresolved emotions which may eventually manifest in more pronounced psychological distress very similar, like you said, if you hold that all inside.

Speaker 3:

There's also the invalidation of genuine feelings. Toxic positivity may inadvertently invalidate individuals' genuine feelings of sadness, anger, frustration or fear. That sounds like alliteration. This can make people feel as though their emotions are unwarranted or insignificant, leading to a sense of isolation and a lack of emotional validation.

Speaker 2:

We also have to consider emotional complexity right. Human emotions are intricate and multifaceted. Attempting to simplify them by focusing solely on positivity ignores the richness of our emotional landscape. Negative emotions often hold valuable insights and can contribute to personal growth and self-awareness.

Speaker 3:

We also have to consider unrealistic expectations. Constantly striving for a state of unyielding positivity sets unrealistic expectations that are nearly impossible to sustain. When individuals inevitably encounter challenges or hardships, the pressure to remain positive at all times can incentivize feelings of failure or inadequacy.

Speaker 2:

And finally, we have the avoidance of genuine healing. Facing and processing negative emotions is an integral part of emotional healing and growth. By glossing over these emotions, individuals miss out on opportunities for genuine healing and transformation.

Speaker 3:

While cultivating an optimistic outlook and focusing on the positive aspects of life can be beneficial, it should not come at the expense of denying or suppressing negative emotions. True emotional well-being arises from embracing the entirety of our emotional experiences, understanding the nuances and developing healthy coping mechanisms to navigate through the ups and downs of life. An approach that values emotional authenticity, self-compassion and balanced emotional processing is more likely to contribute to lasting mental well-being.

Speaker 2:

So how do you think the pressure of toxic positivity affects the way that teenagers interact with each other and express their genuine feelings, especially in challenging and uncomfortable situations?

Speaker 3:

Well, I feel like there's this kind of thing in general when it comes to society, along with teens being social with each other and just people being social in general, is the idea that being emotional in public is something that shouldn't be happening or something that people need to learn to control, or the idea of emotional control.

Speaker 3:

Obviously, that's important, but I found that there are Thing is I'm a person that doesn't. When people say to me, how are you doing today, how's your day going, you know, I normally respond in a very like it was fine, it was all right. I don't really respond in like, oh, it was a great day or oh, it was pretty good, because I don't really like feigning that sort of thing, because I never really know how my day is going. Even as someone who's less negative than I was before, I still don't really say I have a good day or say that I'm doing good. But I feel like a lot of people almost feel like they have to say that or like, whenever people ask that, they never really expect me to say things like oh, I'm all right or I'm fine or whatever.

Speaker 2:

I think a lot of times when people ask that they really don't care either, it's just a conversation starter in a lot of cases, like hey, how you doing? And then they just move on and continue with the conversation, and I think as a result of that it's become kind of a ubiquitous type of handshake response, like how you doing, doing great. Okay, let's move on to what we really need to talk about.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, a lot of people really don't take into consideration, like if you ask someone how they're doing, like that can be a pretty loaded question to a lot of people because obviously we don't know what people are going through and like someone could be going through a lot of different stuff but they don't show it at all because they're too scared to be emotionally vulnerable around a lot of people, which is understandable, but I don't think should be happening and I don't think people should be feigning, you know, positivity, at least to that extreme.

Speaker 2:

I agree and honestly I appreciate the authenticity that you have because you know you call me, you call mommy when you get home from school and we have a little debrief real quick. There are days that you don't want to have that call and when that happens you text us to make sure you're okay and safe and you just aren't ready for a conversation. When you do want to have that conversation and you allude to the fact that it wasn't a great day, that spawns conversation. You know that might prompt someone like mommy or I to maybe pick up dessert or something like that to try to lift your spirits, or it might dictate how the conversation goes.

Speaker 3:

Maybe I won't be as you know you won't focus as much as a stick.

Speaker 2:

In my case I won't be such a stick poker, if you know, I know you didn't have a good day. So it helps to set the tone, but it also helps to gauge reactions from other people if you're honest. But if you're right, you know and people aren't honest about that and you just say everything's okay, that's probably a legitimate form of toxic positivity, right there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah and like obviously I don't think you need to be like emotionally vulnerable with everybody you meet. I can understand not wanting to like say something like that to like a coworker you don't really know, but especially to the people that like you trust and like you're close with, I don't feel like it's the most I don't know. I just feel like we could at least normalize the idea of if someone asks you if you're okay, understand that that's a bit of a loaded question. So don't always be prepared for someone to just be like, oh, I'm good, and then just brush it off.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, and that authenticity you know. Be genuine to yourself, be genuine to the others around you. It's okay to be guarded, you know, depending on who that audience is, but don't don't be misleading for the for the fact, for the sake of trying to get past that question, I think we're going to take our first break here. When we come back, you can tell us about why negative emotions aren't really negative. We'll be right back. For over seven years, the second Sith Empire has been the premier community guild in the online game Star Wars, the old Republic, with hundreds of friendly and helpful active members, a weekly schedule of nightly events, annual guild meet and greets and an active community both on the web and on discord. The second Sith Empire is more than your typical gaming group. We're family. Join us on the Star Forge server for nightly events such as operations, slash points, world boss hunts, star Wars trivia, guild lottery and much more. Visit us on the web today at wwwthesecantsithempirecom.

Speaker 3:

Welcome back to insights and a teens. Today we're talking about toxic positivity and now we're going to talk about why negative emotions aren't really negative. The categorization of emotions into negative and positive is a simplification that reflects the general acknowledgements of the negative emotions in A, d and Z valence or emotional tone of an experience. While this labeling can provide a basic framework for understanding our emotional landscape, it's important to acknowledge that emotions are complex and multifaceted phenomenon that contribute significantly to our psychological and emotional well-being. In fact, the concept of categorizing emotions as purely negative or positive over simplifies their richness and potential benefits.

Speaker 2:

Emotions are intricate responses to our thoughts, perceptions, experiences and bodily sensations. They carry valuable information about our inner world and our external interactions. Rather than categorizing emotions into rigid dichotomies, it's more accurate to view them as a diverse range of responses that serve distinct purposes. Understanding and embracing the so-called negative emotions is essential for personal growth and emotional resilience in the following ways. That provides insights into needs and values. All emotions, whether considered negative or positive, provide insights into our needs, values and desires. For example, feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction can indicate areas of life where our needs are not being met or where there's a misalignment with our values. Acknowledging and exploring these emotions can guide us towards making meaningful changes.

Speaker 3:

It also provides a balanced emotional landscape. Emotions are interconnected and interdependent. Suppressing or denying so-called negative emotions can disrupt the balance of our emotional landscape. Just as we experience joy and contentment, we also experience sadness, anger and fear. Each emotion serves a purpose and contributes to the richness of our emotional experience.

Speaker 2:

Emotional resilience is another consideration. Developing emotional resilience involves the ability to navigate both challenging and positive emotions. Embracing and understanding the full spectrum of emotions enhances our capacity to cope with difficulties, bounce back from setbacks and adapt to changing circumstances.

Speaker 3:

Self-awareness and growth is also something to consider. Engaging with a wide range of emotions fosters self-awareness and personal growth. When we explore our emotional responses, we gain insight into our triggers, patterns and reactions. Self-awareness empowers us to make intentional choices and engage in personal development.

Speaker 2:

It also helps us with effective communication. Emotions are a vital component of effective communication. Expressing and understanding emotions helps us connect with others on a deeper level, fostering empathy, understanding and healthy relationships.

Speaker 3:

Finally, it also helps with processing and healing. So-called negative emotions, such as sadness or anger, often arise in response to challenging situations or past wounds. Allowing ourselves to experience and process these emotions is an essential step toward healing and letting go of emotional baggage.

Speaker 2:

The dichotomy of negative and positive emotions is a simplified framework that doesn't capture the complexity and value of our emotional experiences. Understanding and embracing the full range of emotions contributes to emotional well-being, personal growth and enhanced resilience. By acknowledging the role of so-called negative emotions and learning to navigate them, we cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves and develop the emotional tools necessary to lead fulfilling lives. So I know we've done a podcast on negative emotions in the past. How do you feel about the concept of labeling emotions negative or positive?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's the thing. I know that for a while I had kind of done that sort of thing where I would label certain emotions as being bad or that I was feeling angry. So that means that I'm not feeling great. At this point I've kind of realized that it's more about the mood and mindset when I came to the emotions rather than the emotions themselves, because now I've kind of learned to understand that pretty much any emotion can be used in a constructive way. Anger can be used to understand an injustice that happens and encourage someone to basically go and stop that injustice. And, like we said, frustration can help us understand if our needs aren't being met. So at this point I don't necessarily label my emotions anymore. Like I might say I feel a certain way, but I don't really. Like I might say I feel an emotion or that I might feel negatively or positively, but I never really try to use the two of them together. I kind of just say I'm feeling this way or I feel positive or negative.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so can you recall a time when you felt pressured to suppress a negative emotion, maybe to appear strong or unaffected if you happen to be in a bad mood or something?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, there's a couple of things.

Speaker 3:

The daily one probably has to be when it came to just when I feel terrible at school because like at that point I kind of have to get my day over with and then when I get home I can kind of let it out. But it can be kind of hard to hold all that in, especially considering I don't really have many breaks because I have like six classes in a row until I actually have lunch. So it's like I kind of, if I feel bad during like second period, I have to hold on to that for like the entirety of that time until I can finally get a kind of break. But even then I can't really let all of it out until I'm home. So that's certainly like the daily thing.

Speaker 3:

A more personal one was kind of when Dorian died, because, or well, when Dorian was having to be put down, because, you know, we had to make the right decision because we didn't want her to suffer and we knew that she probably didn't have much time left and for a while when we were there we had to kind of suppress it, and I mainly suppressed it to help comfort mommy because you know, I don't think either of us are really holding it together well. But you know, I kind of tried to hold on to help her.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's tough and it's situational and sometimes, you know, sometimes you have to. It's not like you want to suppress the emotions, but you know, I think when my mom passed away and you know, somebody had to make the arrangements and call the, call the funeral home and do all that stuff and go all our belongings together and it's one of those things where it hurts so much you just sort of want to crawl into a ball and not be bothered by the world, just deal with it, and I didn't have the luxury of that. You know you kind of have to push those down for a little bit to still be functional. You know you can't let yourself get to the point of being non-functional overall. So there's dangers to toxic positivity too. Why don't you tell us about some of the dangers?

Speaker 3:

Toxic positivity and environment that overly emphasizes the need for perpetual positivity can have significant repercussions on the emotional well-being of teenagers and young adults, whether it manifests in personal interactions or online spaces. This culture often emerges due to various factors, including parents uncertainty about how to support their adolescents, a fear of confronting the seriousness of underlying issues or the amplification of a superficially happy image on social media platforms.

Speaker 2:

Parents might unintentionally encourage toxic positivity as they strive to help their teens by urging them to remain positive in the face of difficulties. This could stem from a lack of knowledge about effective emotional support strategies or a hesitancy to address potentially complex and challenging situations head on.

Speaker 3:

Additionally, the pervasive influence of social media plays a significant role in shaping this culture. Online platforms tend to highlight and glorify the positive aspects of life, fostering a facade of unending happiness, which we kind of talked about last time. As a result, young people are often exposed to a curated version of reality, making them feel that expressing anything other than positivity is not acceptable, which I find interesting, because the news is very rarely ever positive.

Speaker 2:

Touche. Research indicates that the societal pressure to maintain a facade of constant positivity can have detrimental effects on mental well-being. Shocker, the incessant need to project happiness can lead to feelings of shame and guilt when experiencing negative emotions such as sadness and anger or frustration. This pressure to suppress authentic feelings can exacerbate emotional distress and hinder healthy coping mechanisms.

Speaker 3:

Toxic positivity can impede honest communication about struggles. Adolescents might feel compelled to conceal their challenges due to the fear of being perceived as weak or inadequate. Consequently, they may resort to I lost your spot.

Speaker 2:

Consumers are very resort to maladaptive.

Speaker 3:

Maladaptive coping strategies, such as turning to substance abuse in an attempt to numb their emotional pain.

Speaker 2:

So as a simple analogy here, toxic positivity in this case, here that hinders emotional healing, is very similar to having an infected cut on your arm but constantly ripping the band aid off, like you're not helping it by pretending it's not there. By taking the band aid off, you're just making sure it doesn't heal. And toxic positivity kind of falls into that same light where we're all going to experience these emotions and if we suppress them you don't learn how to deal with them. There's no avoiding the emotions. Trying to be positive all the time is not the answer.

Speaker 3:

Definitely.

Speaker 2:

So how do you think the idea of toxic positivity impacts the way teenagers communicate about their real feelings and struggles, especially in social settings or in family environments?

Speaker 3:

Well, I can certainly attest to the idea of family environments. Not that you know you've been like toxically positive, it's more your reactions to it. And I can understand how, like, if teens experience toxic positivity at home, they wouldn't really want to be open with their parents because either their parents would kind of just try to shut it down and tell them not to worry about it or, you know, they just wouldn't be able to deal with it properly. So I can understand that, like, if someone is toxically positive to someone else, it would make a teen not want to open up to them or open up to anybody, because again, they'd either be perceived as being weak or their emotions would be ignored and be told to just forget about them.

Speaker 2:

Okay, what strategies do you think are important for teenagers to develop in order to effectively process and communicate a wide range of emotions, including those often labeled as negative?

Speaker 3:

Well, I guess the best way to really go about it is to try your best to define it. I know for a while I had a huge issue when it came to trying to actually define my emotions. They were incredibly complex. I had no idea how to go about it, and it prevented me from actually seeking help from the people that I cared about, because I couldn't tell them what was wrong. I just felt terrible and I could barely communicate anything. So I feel like one of the first steps anyone can really take is to try your best to define it. You have a concrete definition of what you're feeling. The best thing you can do is to try and figure out exactly what's going on, because if you can at least figure it out, then that's one step towards being able to either be rid of it or have a better way of dealing with it altogether. Knowing, in a way, what you're feeling allows you to better communicate with people that can actually help you, and it also helps you get a better understanding of how you're feeling as well.

Speaker 2:

That's a very wise insight into that. We've talked about it a lot in the past the ability to identify feelings, to label feelings and when we say label we don't mean negative or positive, but this emotion here is anger or jealousy or frustration. Once you can put that label on it, you can understand it. Once you can understand it, you can start to cope with it.

Speaker 3:

At that point, yeah, and it doesn't have to be super specific. I know for me, a lot of times there are instances where I'm crying or I'm really upset and I have no idea why. I'm not always able to find a reason why I'm kind of in a mood Again. That's more of a broad interpretation of it. But simply just saying that to someone or simply trying to express that oh, I'm just not feeling great, will still at least lead to something a little more positive or at least lead to okay, I know you're not feeling great, let's see if we can do something. That usually cheers you up.

Speaker 2:

And that's usually when I start throwing chocolate at you and backing away slowly.

Speaker 3:

Pretty much yeah.

Speaker 2:

All right, let's take another break and when we come back we can talk about start talking about how to work with negative emotions. We'll be right back.

Speaker 1:

Insights into Entertainment, a podcast series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things, from music and movies to television and fandom. We'll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week. We'll talk about Theme Park and pop culture news. We'll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions. We'll give you a deep dive into Disney, star Wars and much more. Check out our video episodes at youtubecom backslash insights into things, our audio episodes at podcastinsightsintoentertainmentcom, or check us out on the web at insightsintothingscom.

Speaker 3:

Welcome back to Insights and the Teens. Today we're talking about toxic positivity, and now we're going to talk about how to work with negative emotions, even though we just said that, technically, there are no. Well, there are negative emotions, but you know, it's whatever we're dealing with Thanks for the disclaimer.

Speaker 3:

Yep. Navigating and effectively addressing challenging emotions is a fundamental aspect of emotional well-being and personal growth. These are five common approaches that provide valuable insight into working with negative emotions while avoiding the pitfalls of toxic positivity. One is clinical therapy. Evidence-based therapeutic methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, offer adolescents and young adults essential tools for confronting and processing difficult emotions.

Speaker 2:

Modalities.

Speaker 3:

These modalities.

Speaker 2:

This is why we should do a read through beforehand.

Speaker 3:

It's part of the charm. These modalities provide structured frameworks to understand and manage emotions, particularly those arising from trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. By working with skilled therapists, individuals can learn coping strategies, cognitive reframing techniques and mindfulness practices that enable them to engage with their emotions in a constructive and healing manner.

Speaker 2:

There's also creative arts therapy, which we've discussed in the past as well. Art, music and dance therapy offer nonverbal outlets for expressing intense and painful emotions. These creative modalities provide a safe space for individuals to channel their feelings, talk into artistic expression, facilitating emotional release and catharsis. Through creative processes, teens and young adults can gain insight into their emotions and experiences, fostering a deeper connection with themselves and their feelings.

Speaker 3:

There's also mindfulness and meditation, which we've also talked about. Mindfulness practices encourage individuals to observe their thoughts and emotions with nonjudgmental awareness. By cultivating mindfulness, adolescents can create space between themselves and their emotions, allowing a more balanced and compassionate response. Mindfulness meditation equips teens with the ability to navigate challenging emotions, while fostering self-compassion and emotional intelligence.

Speaker 2:

Last but not least, we have supportive social circles. Building strong social connections provides a crucial foundation for managing negative emotions. Encouraging open and honest communication with peer groups, family and trusted adults creates an environment where teens feel safe to express their authentic emotions. Encouraging with empathic individuals fosters a sense of validation, reducing the pressure to maintain a facade of constant positivity. Supportive relationships offer a space to share experiences, exchange coping strategies and provide mutual encouragement.

Speaker 3:

These approaches offer diverse pathways to addressing challenging emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. By embracing evidence-based therapies, creative expression, mindfulness and supportive relationships, adolescents can develop the tools necessary to navigate their emotional landscapes with resilience, authenticity and well-being.

Speaker 2:

So in what ways do you think creative activities like art, music and dance, what ways can they help in expressing and processing intense emotions, compared to more traditional forms of therapy?

Speaker 3:

So I do feel like talking with people you trust about your emotions is a good way to express them. However, it's not always easy, because it's verbal and not everything you can say is going to be interpreted the way that you want it to be or really be able to be best expressed that way. That's where things like art, music and dance come in, because those are usually visual forms of expression or at least like you can, kind of it's more or less you can see it and also feel it at the same time. I feel like being able to see it and feel it instead of just simply hearing someone talking about it is it's very beneficial for someone else who's trying to better understand what another person is going through, and if you can express it visually through music or through dance, I feel like that's a very effective way to better get it across if it's something that's kind of just hard to say or put into words.

Speaker 2:

And I think you're right. I think you're you're. You're expending energy at the same time, and you're expending a different kind of energy. You're using a different part of your brain to get this type of stuff out. Now we're on the subject of art. This is probably where I should have plugged in the commercial for the new mugs that you have. But is art therapeutic for you, or is it a recreation for you?

Speaker 3:

Honestly, it can be very therapeutic. I tend to. I don't always, I'm not always able to like draw when I'm not feeling great and most of the time it's usually recreational. But I do find that when I get into the zone of art I don't really tend to worry about everything else going on. It's like everything else kind of just stops and I'm just there with my art and I'm just working on whatever I'm drawing and the focus I'm able to put in that and the creativity and ideas that I find myself going through when I end up drawing. It's very therapeutic and it kind of acts as my own therapy, even when I don't intend it to be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you kind of I know what you mean you kind of get in that zone there and once you get in there, it's almost like you're in a meditative state. At that point, when you're, the creativity is just flowing out through whatever medium you've chosen. Can you describe the role your social circle plays and how you handle negative emotions, or what we're not labeling negative emotions, but complex emotions will say?

Speaker 3:

Complex emotions.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I personally think I have a lot of friends who are very accepting and I'm very accepting of them, and I feel like the importance of having a social circle that can either even if they can't always help you with your emotions the idea of at least them being an outlet for where you can at least express it and talk about it, because, again, the idea of talking through your emotions like we've said before on the podcast, can be very beneficial and just having friends that you can trust in order to at least talk with not even necessarily get advice from just at least them being there and you being able to trust them, I feel is very beneficial in how you can help deal with your emotions.

Speaker 3:

I've certainly found that to be very helpful, because the idea of having friends that care about my situation if I'm going through something difficult, and friends that are willing to support me, even if they don't completely understand it, it tends to help me realize that like, okay, I'm going through something right now, but I have a support group and I can always seem to trust them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Having a support system, I think, is vital. Going through things like this Not only do they reaffirm things like you may lose faith in yourself, you may start to believe some of those negative thoughts in your head and they're there to kind of pick you up and dust you off and stand you back up and show you what your self worth really is and it's not that evil voice that's in your head.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's the thing. Me and my friends kind of joke with each other in the ways of like we all kind of provide we're all the positive voices in each other's heads because we're all our own worst enemies.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's true. I mean having someone else there that can fill that gap. If you're not capable, or, in some cases, willing, to do it yourself, having someone else there to do it can be literally a lifesaver. One of the other things that I wanted to talk about was the need to strive for authentic positivity. Authentic positivity is a holistic approach to emotional well-being that goes beyond the surface level of constant cheerfulness. It recognizes the intricacies of human emotions and the dynamic nature of life experiences. Rather than solely focusing on cultivating positive emotions, authentic positivity acknowledges the entire spectrum of human feelings, both positive and challenging. This approach is rooted in the understanding that both joyous and difficult moments are integral components of the human experience.

Speaker 3:

One of the fundamental principles of authentic positivity is the acceptance of all emotions, without judgment or shame, whether suppressing or denying emotions that are commonly labeled as negative, this perspective encourages individuals to embrace their emotions as valid and authentic expressions of their inner world. By giving themselves permission to feel and express a wide range of emotions, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their emotional landscapes.

Speaker 2:

Authentic positivity does not view difficult emotions as obstacles to overcome or ignore, when it acknowledges their presence and significance. This approach recognizes that challenging emotions such as sadness, anger, fear and frustration serve important functions. They can provide valuable insight into one's values, boundaries and areas that may need attention or growth. Rather than avoiding these emotions, authentic positivity encourages individuals to navigate them with empathy and self-compassion.

Speaker 3:

Through embracing both positive and challenging emotions, individuals can develop emotional resilience. This resilience stems from the ability to adapt to different emotional states and situations while maintaining a sense of self-worth and inner stability. Authentic positivity supports individuals in learning healthy ways of coping with challenging emotions. Instead of resorting to avoidant or suppression, individuals are empowered to seek constructive strategies for managing their emotions, which can include seeking professional support, engaging in self-care practices and utilizing healthy outlets for emotional expression.

Speaker 2:

Authentic positivity promotes the importance of seeking support from a social network, therapist, mentors or loved ones, Recognizing that everyone encounters difficulties and struggles at various points in life. This approach encourages individuals to share their experiences and emotions openly. By doing so, they can receive empathy, validation and guidance from others who have navigated similar challenges.

Speaker 3:

Authentic positivity offers a comprehensive and compassionate approach to emotional well-being. By embracing the full spectrum of human emotions, individuals can deepen their self-awareness, increased emotional resilience and enhance their overall quality of life. This approach enables individuals to navigate life's complexities with greater wisdom, self-compassion and a genuine sense of well-being.

Speaker 2:

So do you think you operate in a cloud of toxic positivity these days, or do you think the positivity that you do have you have good days, you have bad days Do you think the positivity that you have these days is a genuine form of positivity?

Speaker 3:

I honestly feel like, for the most part, I do think that most of the positivity I have tends to be genuine, mainly because I don't always like to hide my negative emotions. Sure, I'll suppress it at times when I don't, either where I feel like I don't want to express it or feel like I don't. I can't express it when it comes to, you know, being in public. But I feel like most of the positivity I experience is genuine. And even then, when I do experience positive emotions, I'm quite shocked at myself, which you know. I mean I shouldn't be shocked, but you know it's still, you know, feels good, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Well and see. The thing is is considering where you were and the journey that you've come through and where you are today. It's good to see that kind of progress. That's the emotional growth, the emotional maturity that we've been talking about a lot on the podcast and the last 20 or 30 episodes that we've done. So seeing that growth, you know it's like there's a lot of things that Parents see their kids do. They bring home good grades, or you get compliments on how well you behave, you are when you're in a restaurant or something like that. That's all stuff that makes me, as a parent, feel good. But seeing the growth and in fact seeing that growth episode after episode, really tells me that you're reaching that emotional maturity level that you can handle these things.

Speaker 2:

It's sort of like driving right. When you first started learning how to drive it was terrifying, for me at least, and we had a couple of scary calls. You know you didn't have the confidence that you had, and the last time that I took you out we did highway driving, we did parallel parking and you were a champ and it was all a bunch of little steps that got us there. And the journey to manage, to learn to manage your complex emotions is the same thing, and that's sort of what we're talking about here is the toxic positivity degrades from that. You know, as long as you're realistic and you're authentic and you're honest with yourself, that's that level of maturity, that that everyone's looking for. I think that was all we had today. We're going to take a quick break. We'll come back, get your closing thoughts and finish up the podcast.

Speaker 3:

We'll be right back Alright, so everyone out there, I just wanted to say that every emotion someone feels is valid. I wouldn't say any emotion is necessarily positive or necessarily negative, but there are obviously moments where people feel good and people feel bad and people kind of just feel like they're not really either. And I do understand that people that do Spread toxic positivity for the most part they do have good intentions it's just there's not the understanding that suppressing your emotions isn't really very helpful and, to reiterate, suppressing your emotions isn't really helpful. And as long as people are able to understand that, I feel like the idea of communicating it with people that you trust and knowing that it's okay to express your emotions, no matter what they are, in you know, healthy ways and then healthy doses, I feel like is something that everyone can benefit from.

Speaker 2:

Alright, sage words, as always.

Speaker 3:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Before we do go, I want to take a moment once again to Employ you to subscribe to the podcast. You can find audio only versions of this podcast, listed as insights into teens. You can also find audio and video versions of all the networks podcast listed as insights into things. Anywhere you can get a podcast now Apple, spotify, google, etc. I would also encourage you to writing, give us your feedback, email us at comments and insights into things calm. Hit us up on Twitter at insights underscore things. See, it's not just exits, both. Now you can find high res versions of all of our videos on YouTube at youtubecom slash insights into things. We do stream live five days a week on Twitch at twitchtv slash insights into things, and you can find links to all that and more on our official website At www dot.

Speaker 3:

Insights into things, calm and you don't forget to check out our other two podcast insights and entertainment hosted by you and Sam now and it's it's tomorrow, hosted by you and mommy.

Speaker 2:

There we go. I like that. That's much better marketing than the lack of confidence you were given us before we try to tell us that we do a month and a while look like I don't really know when you guys are doing it with.

Speaker 3:

This is the only podcast that we technically do weekly anymore. There was a whole stick that I had originally. You kind of mess it up with the scheduling. I'm sorry. I'm still trying to do with it.

Speaker 2:

You got a new stick. That's all. That's the wrong with that. That's all, folks. Another one of the books. Bye, everyone, bye.

Exploring Toxic Positivity in Teens
Value of Negative Emotions in Toxic Positivity
Toxic Positivity and Teenagers' Well-Being
(Cont.) Toxic Positivity and Teenagers' Well-Being
Importance of Defining and Expressing Emotions
Authentic Positivity and Art Therapy
Improving Marketing and Podcast Scheduling