The Local Optimist Digest #53

The connection between seasonal allergies and mental health, the psychology of cancel culture, and how to avoid toxic positivity.

Welcome to The Local Optimist Digest, your crib sheet for the latest news in mental health. Whether you want to know how the government is (or is not) investing in our well-being, discover the latest research on how the mind impacts the body, or find out which celebrities are helping continue the conversation by opening up about their own mental health struggles, we’ll be covering it all here every week. This week, we're looking at the psychology of cancel culture, the connection between seasonal allergies and mental health, and how to combat unwanted intrusive thoughts.

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The Psychology Behind Cancel Culture

Cancel culture has become an increasingly prevalent and controversial phenomenon in the digital era. In the age of social media, cancel culture can be accelerated, as online apps serve as platforms for large groups of people to unite and voice their disapproval towards specific individuals or entities. While it is understandable why we are drawn to cancel culture, experts say we should question whether it is truly the most constructive way to coexist in a society where harmonious relationships are crucial. To shed light on this matter, researchers offer insights to help us better understand the psychology of cancel culture, its effectiveness, and what it does to our brains. READ.

The Mental Health Realities Of Seasonal Allergies

There's no denying the misery of seasonal allergies. The constant sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes can feel like a terrible cold that won’t go away. Beyond the draining physical symptoms, recent research has uncovered a compelling link between allergies and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Experts look further into the underlying relationship between allergies and mood disorders, and outline when you should consider seeing a doctor for both physical and mental health care. READ.

The Mental Health Consequences Of Short-Sighted Ghosting

If you've left your friend "on read" for a few days now, it might be time to consider texting them back. A recent study has brought attention to the harmful effects of ignoring messages from friends, and highlights the difference between ignoring a friend versus a romantic interest. The findings shed light on why a lack of response has the potential to trigger depressive episodes and contribute to declining mental health of the person awaiting a message back. Experts explore the psychological repercussions of being left "on read," and explain how something as seemingly insignificant as an unread message can have significant consequences for mental health. READ.

How To Combat Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

  1. Recognize and label these thoughts as "intrusive thoughts."

  2. Remind yourself that they are automatic and not under your control.

  3. Accept and allow the thoughts to arise in your mind.

  4. Resist the urge to push the thoughts out of your mind forcefully.

  5. Practice the art of floating: allow time to pass while observing the thoughts.

  6. Recognize the likelihood of the thought resurfacing again in the future.

  7. Continue to engage in whatever activity you were doing prior.

Read MORE.

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The Dangers Of Toxic Positivity

While you’re often encouraged to "look at the bright side," embracing a perpetually positive outlook has the potential to inadvertently dismiss both your own feelings and the feelings of those around you. Known as "toxic positivity," this mindset curates an excessive and unhealthy emphasis on being positive with the goal of avoiding negative emotions, thoughts, or situations. This approach can invalidate and undermine emotions that aren't strictly "happy," as researchers outline how suppressing emotions can lead to detrimental long-term effects, including heightened stress, anxiety, and depression. But fortunately for us, experts share tips to use to carry a positive-centric demeanor and provide positive support without being toxic. READ.

The Gray Matters Collective

This week, we are excited to highlight The Gray Matters Collective, a non-profit organization created with a mission to provide resources, education, & community to young people struggling with mental health. The Gray Matters Collective has chapters in local high schools, colleges, and workplaces and aims to equip students, working adults, and others with the tools to be mental health advocates in their communities. To learn more about The Gray Matters Collective and ways to support, head HERE.

Get Rewarded For Sharing The Digest

Welcome to our new referral program, in which we give you some goodies for sharing the Digest with people who might enjoy this mental health news recap (and its bad jokes) as much as you do.

Here's how it works:1: Use the 'Click To Share' button below to access your personal link.2: Send this unique referral link to friends or family through email or text.3: Earn rewards like Local Optimist stickers, The Madhappy Journal, and Madhappy hats when they subscribe to the digest. Must be based in the U.S.