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Why can’t I stop thinking so negatively?

Negative thinking is an incredibly common issue that affects millions of people every day. It is especially challenging to overcome because it often feels like we have no control over it. Experiencing negative thinking is normal, but it can easily become a pattern that negatively affects our mood, behavior, and mental health. It can be frustrating when you feel that you can’t stop thinking negatively, but the good news is that there are things that you can do to overcome it.

What Is Negative Thinking?

Negative thinking is a natural part of the human experience. It is when those thoughts become a regular part of our everyday thoughts that it can become problematic. Negative thoughts can be caused by a variety of triggers such as stress, past experiences, and certain beliefs. But why do we continue to think negatively, even when we know it’s not doing us any good?

Why Can’t You Stop Thinking So Negatively?

There are a few reasons why you might struggle to stop thinking negatively. First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that negative thinking can be addictive. As humans, we tend to gravitate towards things that feel familiar, even if it’s not good for us. Negative thinking can be so familiar and ingrained in our thought patterns that it can feel like we can’t escape it.

Another reason why it can be challenging to stop thinking negatively is that it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we think negatively, it can impact our mood and behavior, which can then affect the outcomes of our experiences. For example, if you think that you’re going to fail an exam, you might feel anxious, which can then affect your ability to study effectively.

How to Stop Thinking So Negatively

Now that we understand why negative thinking can feel so pervasive, let’s explore some strategies that can help you break the cycle.

1. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

One of the most effective ways to overcome negative thinking is to challenge your thoughts. When you have a negative thought, ask yourself if it’s based on fact or if it’s just an assumption. Try to take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Ask yourself if there’s evidence to support your negative thoughts, or if it’s just your mind playing tricks on you.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is an excellent way to bring yourself back to the present moment and stop dwelling on negative thoughts. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. By focusing on your breath or other sensations, you can steer your mind away from negative thoughts and towards feeling calm and centered.

3. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts

Reframing your negative thoughts means looking at a situation from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation, try to find the positives. Ask yourself what you can learn from the experience, or what you’re grateful for. By focusing on the positive, you can reframe your thoughts and break the cycle of negativity.

4. Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is essential for mental health and wellbeing. Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and engaging in regular exercise. Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you to relax, such as spending time in nature or reading a book. By taking care of yourself, you’re sending a message to your subconscious that you matter, and that you’re worth investing in.

5. Seek Professional Help

In some cases, negative thinking can be a symptom of an underlying mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety. If you’ve tried the strategies above and are still struggling, it might be time to seek professional help. Therapy can be an effective way to explore your negative thought patterns, understand how they’re impacting your life, and develop strategies to overcome them.


Negative thinking can be challenging to overcome, but it’s not impossible. By understanding why we think negatively, we can develop strategies to break the pattern and begin to feel more positive and hopeful. Whether you practice mindfulness or challenge your thoughts, there are many ways to overcome negative thinking, so don’t give up hope. Remember, with time, patience, and practice, you can change your thought patterns and live a more positive and fulfilling life.


What causes excessive negative thinking?

Negative thinking can be a common experience for many people. It’s normal to feel down or sad sometimes, but when negative thoughts persist and start affecting your daily life, it becomes a cause for concern. There are several potential causes for excessive negative thinking, both psychological and environmental.

One of the factors that contribute to negative thinking is a person’s personality and temperament. People who tend to have a more negative outlook on life or are anxious may have a higher tendency to engage in negative thinking. Also, people who have experienced traumatic events, such as abuse, loss of a loved one, or other significant stressors, may develop a habit of negative thinking in an attempt to protect themselves from future harm.

Another common cause of negative thinking is mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. These conditions can hijack the way a person thinks, feels, and processes experiences, leading them to interpret things in a negative light. Depression, for example, can often cause one to think negatively about themselves, others, and the future. Anxiety can make a person excessively worry about their situation, even when things are going well.

Negative thinking can also be a result of external factors such as a bad work environment, stressful relationships, an unhealthy lifestyle, or an overall dissatisfaction with life. When you’re constantly in a negative environment, it can be challenging to maintain a positive outlook. Moreover, certain lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, or inadequate sleep, can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain, leading to mood changes and negative thoughts.

Negative thinking can be caused by various factors, ranging from emotional and environmental factors to psychological and physical factors. Identifying the root cause of negative thinking is essential to develop effective treatment strategies. It’s critical to seek professional help if your negative thinking is interfering with your daily life.