Girl, Get Depressed: How Toxic Positivity Ruins Your Life

Einstein Shrugged
6 min readFeb 25, 2022

ChOoSe HaPpY isn’t self-help or therapy — it’s a marketing ploy. Toxic Positivity can derail your goals and put your health at risk.

The power of positive thinking has been a foundational aspect of self-help for generations. Daily routines that involve mindful positivity are often cited as ways to improve your mood and fight depression. But going overboard into the Hyper Positivity movement can be just damaging as feeding depressive ideas and behaviors.

The idea of taking control of one’s own destiny while being connected to a sense of spirituality has appealed to people disenfranchised from many major religions. In 1902, James Allen published “As a Man Thinketh”, which was based on the premise that “a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” It became a foundational work for positive thinking movements for generations to come.

In 1936, Dale Carnegie added to the positivity fire with his influential work “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. The book was, ironically, the result of Carnegie’s failure in several different careers which prompted his interest in the power of self-confidence. This book also went on to become something like gospel in the positivity community and effectively saved Carnedie’s floundering career and turned him into a motivational guru.

By 1952, Norman Vincent Peale would become a game changer with his book “The Power of Positive Thinking”. The book, which extolled the virtues and potential contained in the simple act of positive thinking, would dominate the New York Times Bestseller list for no less than 180 weeks.

By then, there was no stopping the idea that people could change pretty much anything through the power of positive thought. Today, people spend millions of dollars on books, audio content and even conferences that focus on ways to force yourself to be happy. Trendy self-help gurus such as Rachel Hollis, Tony Robbins, and Jen Sincero have no problem cashing in by offering advice that was little more than empty platitudes and, in some cases, downright dangerous.

Toxic Positivity Prevents You From Making Actual Progress

Einstein Shrugged

Writer. Bibliophile. Optimistic Pragmatist. Co-Author of Killer Word Games on Amazon / Lulu