What Causes Negative Thinking

Many people have a hard time understanding this. They think that if someone is just a little bit negative, then they must be feeling terrible about themselves and the world. That’s not always the case! There are many different reasons why people might experience negativity in their lives without being aware of it. We explore 15 reasons why you might be experiencing negative thinking:

Your mental health 

Negative thinking can have a wide range of causes. Negative thinking about yourself or the world around you can be caused by things like anxiety, stress, or depression.

These are all very serious conditions which affect people’s moods daily! If you suspect that your negative thoughts might be caused by a mental health condition, please seek professional help as soon as possible. 

Your upbringing 

Negative thinking may be caused by your parents or other significant adults in your life while you were growing up. If the people around you constantly complained about how bad things are, then it’s likely that complaining has become a habit for you too.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things happening in your life! It only means that if you want to take control of your thoughts and feel positive more often, you can do it through deliberate choice making and certain self-help techniques. 

The media (TV, radio, social media) 

The media is everywhere these days–it permeates nearly every aspect of our lives! unfortunately, negativity is often the focus of news stories, talk shows, and social media posts. This can leave people feeling drained and discouraged.

If you find yourself constantly exposed to negative images or messages, it’s important to take a step back and analyze where that negativity is coming from. Limit your exposure to negative media, and fill your life with more positive things like books, friends, nature, etc. 

Your environment 

Your environment can also play a big role in how much negativity you experience daily. If you live in a chaotic or polluted city, for example, likely, you’re constantly bombarded by stressful sights and sounds.

On the other hand, if you live in a quiet, natural environment, you’re likely to feel more relaxed and positive. Try to surround yourself with things that make you happy, and try to minimize contact with things that cause you stress. 

Negative experiences  

Negative thinking might also be caused by traumatic events in your life. If you’ve faced multiple hardships or hurt yourself, then it’s likely that negativity is the only way you know to feel about things.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things happening in your life! It means that if you want to take control of your thoughts and feel positive more often, you can do it through deliberate choice making and certain self-help techniques. 

A pessimistic nature 

Some people are just naturally more pessimistic than others! If you tend to be a little more negative about things, then it’s likely that negativity is your default reaction.

The good news is that there are ways to change this and learn how to become more positive: simply deciding to think or perceive something differently can help you see the world in a brighter light again. 

Your attitude towards life 

Your attitude towards life can also affect your thoughts and beliefs daily! If you find yourself saying things like “life isn’t fair” or “nothing ever works out for me,” then it might be time for some self-examination.

Those negative thoughts are likely to lead to more negative thinking in the future. Instead, try adopting a more positive attitude and see how that changes your outlook on life. 

The way you think about others 

The way you think about other people can also have a huge impact on your overall negativity levels. If you’re constantly judgmental or critical of others, it can be tough to maintain a positive attitude yourself!

Try to be more accepting and open-minded towards other people, even if you don’t agree with them. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you stop putting energy into negative thoughts about others. 

Your self-esteem 

Negative thinking can also be caused by low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s tough to be positive about anything else in your life.

If this is the case for you, try working on building your self-esteem and confidence levels. There are plenty of resources available to help you do this, including books, articles, and even counseling. 

Fear of the future 

Do you often worry about things that might happen in the future? This is a common type of negative thinking. People often worry about things they have no control over, which can be very frustrating and discouraging.

The key to overcoming this kind of negative thinking is to focus on the present as much as possible. Live in the moment, and remind yourself that you can only control what happens today, not tomorrow. 

Your thoughts about yourself 

Your thoughts about yourself are another big factor when it comes to negative thinking. If you think negatively about yourself consistently, nothing else matters–and all of your positive thoughts will just fall by the wayside.

Instead, work on reframing your inner monologue into something more positive and encouraging. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you love yourself! 

Your emotions 

Your emotions are the driving force behind your thoughts. If you’re sad, depressed, or stressed out, then you might have some negative thoughts that go along with those feelings regularly.

Make an effort to work through your feelings so they don’t snowball into more negative thinking patterns. There are even ways you can use certain techniques to train yourself to feel happier despite whatever is going on in your life! 

Your health  

Negative thinking can also be caused by health problems or chronic pain. If you’re suffering from a painful condition, it’s going to impact your mood. This might make you feel depressed and anxious, which can lead to negative thoughts about yourself and the world around you.

Unfortunately, the only way to overcome this is through proper treatment for your illness or health problem. You cannot simply stop being in pain! That said, if your doctor prescribes medication for you, talk with them about how it might affect your emotions so that they know when an adjustment may be necessary. 

Your habits 

Negative thinking can also be caused by your daily habits, routines, and behaviors. If you’ve developed any bad habits or created routines that are out of balance with the way you want to live, then they might be leading to negative thoughts. You can change these things without too much trouble, but it will take some willpower!

Before trying to make any big changes in your life, figure out what triggers your negative thoughts and try to remove those triggers entirely. For example, if you spend most mornings scrolling through social media feeds on your phone before even getting dressed for the day, consider giving yourself a time limit on how long you spend on social media after waking up each morning. 


Negative thinking can also be caused by genetics. If you have a family history of mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, then you might be more prone to experiencing negative thoughts regularly. This isn’t something that you can change, but you can learn how to cope with it better.

Accepting that this is part of who you are in the first step, and then finding the right self-help techniques for you is essential. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing your mental health!


There are many reasons why you might be experiencing negative thinking regularly. It’s important to figure out what’s causing it so that you can start working on changing it. With time and effort, you can train yourself to think more positively and live a happier life!

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