If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism or another autoimmune disorder, you have probably heard a positive attitude is good for you. Positive thinking, gratitude, and healthy socialization are all linked to better health outcomes. However, there can be dark side to positivity.
How often do we all hear “just think positive,” “focus on the good,” “don’t dwell on the negative,” and so on? The truth is, sometimes life is terrible or people do terrible things to us.
In these situations, a positive attitude is not appropriate. In fact, expecting as much is known as toxic positivity. If you avoid or deny negative emotions that only makes them stronger and more persistent, which in turn makes them more inflammatory for your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism condition.
After all, negativity is a survival trait. It lets us know when we are in danger, or if something is threatening our well being.
Telling someone who is suffering to be positive is known as spiritual bypassing or gaslighting. Spiritual bypassing is using false positivity to bypass a difficult situation. Gaslighting happens when someone makes you question your sanity when you bring up something uncomfortable or negative.
Many autoimmune patients say they have been gaslighted by doctors who told them their symptoms were not real because their lab tests were normal.
We all want to avoid negative and unpleasant emotions; they are uncomfortable or distressing and this leads us to label them as “bad.” But the truth is negative thoughts and emotions are there to protect and guide us. It’s just a matter of knowing how to navigate them.
Instead of resisting negativity or trying to escape it through addiction or bad habits, psychologists advise us to listen to what they have to tell us.
Some self-help “gurus” say that negative thoughts attract bad things. The truth is, bad things happen to everyone on a regular basis. Positivity isn’t about always feeling good but instead about resilience and healthy self-talk in the midst of challenges.
Are you a negative self-talker? See if you practice any of these habits:
Positivity means you don’t get sucked into the bottomless well of despair and hopelessness. Instead, you become your own cheerleader and coach.
Positivity is not state you magically achieve. It is something that takes practice and application every day just in the way playing a musical instrument does.
This activates neuroplasticity in the brain. By practicing positivity regularly, you create new neural pathways into your brain. This not only makes you more efficient at positivity, it also changes the shape of the brain.
If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, you practicing positivity also releases anti-inflammatory chemicals that modulate immunity.
Want to better manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid? Start practicing these positivity habits:
Some of us had parents and caregivers who taught us healthy self-talk. Others of us have had to learn it in adulthood. It’s just a skill that takes practice in order to give yourself the support to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Ask my office for more advice on managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.