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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

#straightfromcait: The Negative Side of Positive Thinking (Part 1)

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Are you fed up with all of the positivity memes on your Instagram feed? Do your friends tell you that you would feel better if you just changed your outlook on life? If so, you are likely a victim of toxic positivity. While positivity may sound good in theory and in many cases can be helpful, to the burnt-out brain positivity is not likely to fix anything.

When you are burnt out, your brain is focused on keeping you safe. It is on high alert, and all of your systems are dedicated to responding to that internal code red. While your friends mean well and want to help, forced positive thinking when you’re already burnt out is not the optimal approach. Instead, some things you can do to help with burnout are using a resentment journal, shaking and dancing to reset your system, and making small changes to improve your environment.

Tune into this week’s #straightfromcait episode for a conversation about the damage positivity can have on an already burnt-out brain. Learn validating phrases to use in place of toxic positivity and small ways you can make progress toward getting back on track from your burnout.


  • “Here is the thing. The burnt-out mindset isn’t a negative one. The burnt-out mindset is an issue of the communication between parts of the brain that aren’t functioning as they should. When the danger alarm part of the brain is hyperactive and the reasonable adult part of the brain is napping, positive thoughts just don’t hit the same way. Mindset isn’t just about your thoughts, but about how your brain is functioning and how your neural networks are talking to one another.” (02:09-02:49)

  • When you are absolutely in burnout phase, your brain is hyper-focused on letting you know when you are unsafe, because it knows that you’re close to the edge all the time. So, it keeps the danger alarm part of your brain on Code Red all the time.” (03:03-03:22)

  • Increasing feelings of safety is paramount in burnout recovery.” (04:01-04:07)

  • “Gratitude is incredibly powerful when you’re mostly balanced and your brain is online. But in the burnt out state it barely touches you.” (05:52-06:00)

  • Please stop trying to positive think your way out of burnout. And if you’re a friend to the burnt out amongst us, stop trying to use positivity to cheer up the burnt out people in your life. I understand that your intentions are good, but I promise you, it won’t work. And it might actually cause them harm.” (07:01-07:21)

  • Burnout is a bitch. I know it can be hard for you to know exactly what you need, but if you have any clarity and there is something I can help with, I’m here.” (08:57-09:05)

  • “Resentment is a superpower… The more you use resentment well, the better your boundaries will be and the more you’ll be able to refuel and recharge and get yourself back.” (09:46-09:59)

  • Positivity can be toxic. Positivity can lead to spiritual bypassing where you’re just ignoring all the things that are wrong in your life because you’re looking for the silver linings all the time. And positive thinking when you’re burnt out, in the burnt out brain it just doesn’t hit those neural networks the same way.” (11:15-11:35)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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