Trying to stay positive during a horrendous pandemic can become toxic.
‘…toxic positivity means only focusing on positive things while ignoring, suppressing, or avoiding anything that may trigger negative emotions. This invalidation of real feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness can take a toll on mental health.’Laura Gallagher
Laura Gallagher’s outstanding article There’s a dark side to looking at the bright side. Here’s a healthier antidote. recommends listening and honesty as the antidote to toxic positivity.
From my experience as a leader, here are a few specific actions to avoid toxic positivity that have worked well.
- Hold regularly scheduled meetings keeping communications balanced between optimism and realism.
- Reassure staff that it’s okay to have negative emotions, fears and concerns and that it is safe to express them.
- Create safe spaces for concerns to be expressed e.g., small team meetings, opportunities for one-on-one meetings.
- Identify employees who are at higher risk e.g., front-line workers, new parents, single parents.
- Provide easily accessible support resources e.g., information on employee assistance programmes (EAPs), help lines.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.