Why do I have negative thoughts?

Have you ever stopped your busy life, sat down, relaxed, and brought your attention to your thoughts?

Do you think this sounds like a crazy thing to do? If so, you haven’t done it before….. or, you have done it, and you were scared/shocked by the endless chatter going on within your busy monkey mind!

The ‘unconscious mind’ is sometimes referred to as the ‘monkey mind’ because it is often running amok and causing trouble for us. What I mean by causing trouble is that: Our unconscious minds are very often not supporting us in achieving our goals and are, for much of the time, sabotaging our attempts to create the life we are dreaming of.

Self-sabotage occurs by thinking thoughts that do not align with our goals, hopes, and dreams. This will include the usual negative thoughts like ‘I’m not good/smart enough,’ I can’t do that,’ and ‘I never have enough money,’ etc.

Our negative thoughts come from our mind

However, not all thoughts have to be negative to prevent us from reaching our goals. They just need to be contradictory to our goals to have the same effect. For example, if our goal is to lose weight, we may have thoughts like ‘just one more chocolate won’t make any difference,’ and ‘I’ll skip exercising today because there are other things I need to do.’

We all have negative thoughts, and it is the degree that OUR MIND IS GENERATING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS that will determine if we achieve our desired outcomes, or not.

Our thoughts come from our minds, but what is our mind?

Our minds are truly amazing!

We may never fully understand how they generate our thoughts, interact with our body, our emotions, and our soul, but we do know that our minds are responsible for generating the content of our lives, and therefore the quality of our life experience.

Before we answer our question, “why do I have negative thoughts?” it is important to determine where our negative thoughts are coming from?

Our minds have different operating modes and each mode has specific functions to perform and is designed perfectly to accomplish these functions.

The reasons for our negative thoughts vary depending on if we are functioning with deliberate ‘conscious awareness,’ or are just ‘unconsciously reacting’ to what we are observing happening around us or to what someone else has said, etc.

Very briefly our mind is made up of three parts:

  • Our subconscious mind: This is a massive storehouse filled with all the sensory information we have ever been exposed to as well as every response we have had to that information. For example, there are ‘filing cabinets’ filled with information we have learned about driving a car. Once learned and stored, we do not have to consciously learn this information again as we can just drive ‘automatically’ while thinking about what we are going to have for dinner. It’s also responsible for all the autonomic functions that keep our bodies functioning, like breathing, digestion, cellular reproduction, etc.
  • Our conscious mind: This is what we use when actively learning how to do something new, looking for solutions to problems, or keenly listening when our friend is sharing their problems. This part of our mind is aware, able to reason, and sort through information, and can find new ways for us to act and react in our environment.
    Our subconscious mind is a huge storage system of all our experiences
  • Our unconscious mind: This is the link between the two. Its role is to enable us to function effectively throughout our daily lives, while not being actively conscious of all the details. For example, we can be cooking dinner, chatting with mum on the phone, and thinking about what the kids are doing, all at the same time, and giving none of the tasks our full attention. This is possible because we have done these tasks many times before, and have memories of our previous experiences and responses stored in our subconscious filing cabinets. Our unconscious mind uses these previous experiences to enables us to complete all tasks satisfactorily.

So, our negative thoughts may be unconsciously generated (from the files stored within our subconscious minds) or, we may be consciously
generating new negative thoughts. The reasons for each condition are different, as are the ways to overcome our negative thoughts.

Unconscious Mind: Why am I still having negative thoughts as an adult- even though I don’t choose to!

Unfortunately, this is an all too common scenario that most of us suffer to varying degrees.

If we are not choosing our negative and self-defeating thoughts, and notice that we are having them, it is because they are already programmed into us, deep within our subconscious minds.

We learned many of our responses (thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) when we were young and impressionable. Our vulnerable minds received ideas, beliefs, and attitudes from those closest to us from the day we were born. And even if we did not immediately understand the language, we understood the ‘vibration’ that was being transmitted, and this is why, as children, we so easily adopted many of the beliefs and attitudes of our caregivers.

Our minds are amazing!

Because our subconscious mind cannot discriminate between which feelings, thoughts, and emotions, would be for our future benefit, and which would work against us, we unconsciously received ALL the fears, doubts, anxieties, frustrations, (as well as the good stuff,) that we were exposed to and stored them away in our filing cabinet for later reference and use.

So, now our filing cabinet is filled with a lot of information that we never consciously chose to accept, but is there by default. And anytime we are not consciously creating our thoughts with awareness, by focusing on what we are doing, our mind does the only thing it can do. It draws from the information that is already available and familiar. And unfortunately for us, this also includes all the negativity we have been programmed with and have filed away throughout our lives.

We often catch ourselves thinking negatively because:
Depending upon which research papers you read, scientists tell us that we have between 6000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. Up to ninety-five percent of those thoughts are unconscious, and of those unconscious thoughts, up to eighty percent can be negative. And this is a big problem for us, as these self-defeating negative thoughts keep popping up day after day and sabotage our goals, making it difficult at times for us to live a happy life.

Conscious Mind: Ok, I’ll admit it! Some of my negative thoughts are my choice!

To make matters worse (as if our unconscious mind running amok and sabotaging our dreams wasn’t bad enough) some of us even consciously choose to have negative thoughts about ourselves, about others, and about events and circumstances in our lives!

Ummmm…. I can’t speak for all you wonderful people reading this post, but I know in the past I have consciously held on to thoughts that kept me in an angry state (for example.) At the time, I felt justified doing this because I thought I was right, and I wanted everyone to know it!

Way back then, I didn’t understand that these feelings of anger and the angry thoughts I was having were being added to my filing cabinet of memories and further reinforcing that ‘This is the way I react when this situation occurs.’ Therefore, the next time this situation or a similar one occurs, my unconscious mind could take over and my ‘go-to’ reaction would be anger again!

Learn to create the life of your dreamsIt’s a vicious cycle that I am sure many of you can relate to. Some people can even live their whole lives and never escape from many of their unconscious self-sabotaging habits. (Please, don’t let this be you!)

I decided I wasn’t going to be one of them and set about learning how to change my thoughts to change my world! The main catalyst for change was when I came to understand that MY ANGER WAS ONLY HURTING ME, NO ONE ELSE BUT ME! So, I took measures to begin changing my self-destructive unconscious habits so I could improve my life experience by including more fun, adventure, abundance, and love.

Will challenging our negative thoughts create a better life experience?

So, our negative thoughts can come from our subconscious mind (old programs) as reactions to events and circumstances in our daily lives, and they can also be new creations that we consciously choose to think, like yuk, why did he choose to wear that shirt today <=== (not a life-threatening thought, but still negative and affecting the way we feel!)

Our thoughts are directly responsible for the way we feel, and the way we feel is very, very, very, important. Why?


It’s the journey, it’s the journey, and it’s the journey that is important! The way we are feeling along the way is creating a particular vibration and setting us up for more of the same. So, if we’re not enjoying the journey so far, we better do something about how we are feeling, to raise our vibration so we can achieve a great outcome!

How do we do this?

Not by challenging negative thoughts, Not by overcoming negative thinking, Not by getting rid of negative thoughts or eliminating negative thoughts, But by consciously choosing positive, uplifting, self-supportive, constructive, and creative thoughts that align with our goals, hopes, and dreams!

Negative focus returns negative results, positive focus attracts positive results!

WE NEED TO STOP FOCUSING ON UNWANTED THINGS…… BECAUSE THESE THOUGHTS CAN NEVER HELP US TO GET TO WHERE WE WANT TO BE! They just hold us in that negative vibrational state, and this just wears us out. It’s tiring because most of us then try to compensate for our self-defeating thinking with our physical actions…… talk about a lose-lose situation!

Even if we have the ‘right action’ to achieve our desired outcomes, when our thoughts are not positively aligned with these actions, it is impossible to achieve or receive what we want.

My current thought patterns have resulted in my current life circumstances….. How do I get an ‘upgrade?’

Our current way of thinking has resulted in the life circumstances that we are currently living. However, our future does not need to be a continuation of more of the same. We can begin upgrading our experience now!

We are not our thoughts (they are just programs running in our minds that we have accumulated) and we can choose to think and install new and better programs that WILL work for us.

To achieve a different and better life experience WE must introduce NEW thought patterns into our minds.

How do we do this?

My previous post, How to change your thoughts to change your world goes into this in detail, so I won’t repeat the information here. But, briefly, we have two main avenues to introduce thoughts that align with our goals: Through better quality conscious thinking, and by directly implanting information into our subconscious minds. You can read about these methods here.

What goals should I try to achieve first?

Life is great, but only if you think up a great life for yourself!

Most people have goals that revolve around finances, love, career, family, etc. And yes, go for what is important for you. However, what is the point of achieving your goals in one aspect of life if other aspects are out of balance?

I’ve chosen to walk a path that gives priority to my OVERALL WELLBEING. I’m not suggesting that everyone go down the same road, but there are benefits to choosing this path. The main benefit is that the WHOLE JOURNEY becomes lighter and more joyous All the TIME. This is because our overall vibration improves and this makes it possible for everything else that we desire to flow more easily into our experience.

Abundance is available everywhere, and we just need to ‘tune’ ourselves into the frequency of what we desire, and it will be attracted (Law of Attraction) to our experience.

OUR LIVES ARE AS GOOD AS WE ALLOW THEM TO BE….. because of what we think!

Imagine: You are the lead actor in your life movie. You also wrote, produced, and directed this movie. What story would you create for yourself?


Shared with love and respect for all souls who have chosen to play The Game of Life!

May your journey be filled with joy, excitement, and endless wonder.


11 thoughts on “Why do I have negative thoughts?

  1. Hi, Habib. Many thanks for your comments.

    I have to agree with you that so much of the content we are exposed to each and every day is not for our benefit! We may watch the latest drama on tv, see what our friends are up to on social media, read or watch all of the bad news going on around the world, etc. And all of this content is imprinted into our subconscious mind and added to our database of ‘this is what life on earth is all about.’ And then this becomes what we expect to receive….. crazy!

    We may think it doesn’t affect us negatively, but once seen, things cannot be unseen. I, for one, try to be very selective of what content I let through my conscious mind these days because I now realize that if something is not going to help me get closer to achieving my goals, it is not in my interest to be adding it to the files stored in my subconscious mind.

    The more we can focus only on content that supports our goals and dreams for a better life for ourselves, then the sooner our goals and dreams will become reality.

    I wish you all the best, my friend.
    Have a great day,

  2. Hi Andrew – Thanks for writing a true value-add article. Many years ago I was wonderfully impacted by “The Power of Positive Thinking”, by Norman Vincent Peale. I began practicing what I learned from him and so many great things started happening in my life. It was amazing.

    I still practice those things, but, I have lapses. Then, slowly, without me even noticing it, negative thoughts start showing up in my mind. I’m mostly a positive person, so I never go drop into a deep negative cavern. Your article is a good reminder for me to give myself, “a check-up from the neck-up”, (Zig Ziglar).

    1. Hi Glenn. “The Power of Positive Thinking” is a great book and it’s one of many that I read all those years ago that helped me begin this journey of ‘self-discovery.’ Another one was “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill.
      From memory, these books placed positive thoughts as being the only(?) ingredient to creating a better life. I totally agree with the power of positive thinking but have since learned that it is our feelings that actually attract circumstances into our lives. Thoughts are responsible for how we feel, so are very important. However, if we can focus our attention on the way we wish to feel when our goal is realized, our goals will, by the universal Law Of Attraction, manifest into our lives.
      Regular checkups from the neck up are a great idea…… I wish you all the best,

  3. Hi Andrew,

    Only last night I was laying in bed and my mind was working hard, not allowing me to go to sleep, lol. However, they were good thoughts. I went down memory lane, all the way back to my twenties and also to my youth. There are many unpleasant memories from when I was little, and many negative thoughts were placed in my mind at that time, which caused me to struggle for decades to overcome that conditioning. Nevertheless, I also realized that I have come a long way since then. Even if the construction of my house has been paused for a long time now and I live in a trailer, I own a large property, I have the most amazing dogs and cats, I have friends I can count on, and my wellbeing has improved a lot. I am sometimes guilty of negative thoughts and the monkey mind that never shuts up. Oh, my mind is busy busy busy … but I have also learned to push away negative thoughts and focus on the positive ones.
    When you mentioned that there are people who spend their lives stuck in anger or negative thought processes, it reminded me of one of my neighbors who is a very angry man (and whom I always avoid). It is true that people who allow anger to rule their lives only hurt themselves. Rage can be controlling, and it is a big achievement to let go of that anger.

    1. Thinking good thoughts before bed is important for a good night’s sleep. I do know of people who are generally negative and indulge in going over all their mistakes and problems before going to bed, in the hopes of finding solutions, and then they wonder why they do not get a good night’s rest! Our mind is better able to solve our problems when it is relaxed and well-rested 🙂
      It amazes me how different parents raise their children. I believe that most have good intentions but lack the necessary maturity, experience, and wisdom to raise happy, healthy, successful children. It sucks to realize that our own parents did not do a very good job with us….. or did they? Everything about you now is a result of all of your past…. sure it could have been different in many ways, and the same can be said for the rest of us. But here and now, you are wise enough to understand where youcame from, what you went through, and where you want to be going. Many, many people still have not reached this point in their lives and may never do so. If life is comfortable, safe and secure all of the time, we won’t be provided the opportunity to question it! So, althought it may not seem so, those of us who have been through tough times and come out the other side are, are in some respects, the lucky ones.
      Surviving difficult times and experiences makes us more aware, more compassionate towards others, stronger, more resiliant, etc. It’s good to know that you are one who has ‘come a long way since then.’
      I hope you house gets built soon. I imagine that you will create a space where you can relax your mind…… haha
      I wish you all the best,
      With much respect,

  4. Hi Andrew,

    A wonderful and thought-provoking read as always.

    In fact, I often read your articles and feel as though you’ve been poking around in my mind before putting the proverbial “pen to paper”, LOL.

    Your initial description of the subconscious, conscious, and unconscious mind took me back to when I first read “The Chimp Paradox” by Steve Peters. It was then I had my first “Aha” moment about how the workings of my mind, and the thoughts that I choose to have, may be impacting on the quality of my life.

    The negative thoughts are unfortunately always there, I guess it’s just how we personally react to them.

    Even reading about the chocolate bar scenario above resonated with me somewhat, as I have always been someone who thinks in that way. I typically realise that I’m having a negative thought, but I’ve plunged into my “mini-crisis”, so I decide to be a more positive person the next day.

    I would also say that a familiar process that I seem to have followed throughout my life is to start the day full of hope, inspiration, and motivation. I know that today is going to be my day, and I know exactly how I’m going to do things, in what order, and the results that I expect to have.

    Then one small thing, it could be the tiniest thing ever, steers me slightly in another direction, and then the negative thought processes take over, and suddenly all that hope and motivation I had first thing in the morning is now a thing of the past.

    I actually like the fact that you have chosen your overall well-being to be your number one priority in life at this moment in time. I’ve often had the same ideas, but once again those negative thoughts tend to take over.

    I’ve even occasionally put an entire day aside for myself and say I’m going to work on myself today. No distractions, no work, no family, no worries, no external forces working against me whatsoever.

    I’ll have a wonderful morning of self-discovery, perhaps a good hour of meditation, another hour of contemplating and writing down positive things, I’ll read some wonderful and uplifting articles, and then for some reason my mind will tell me I’ve done fantastically well so far, so now seems as good as time as any to relax, eat some rubbish, watch some TV, and then all that hard work has been undone. LOL.

    As I say, Andrew, I am a work in progress, but I’m definitely getting better.


    1. The thought of poking around in someone else’s mind is frightening… I mean, mine’s bad enough! Haha, I’ll leave your mind for you to deal with 🙂
      Maybe my rationale for choosing a path of overall wellbeing is not what you may think?
      I get the feeling, from what you write about yourself, that you like to lead a structured and organized lifestyle. Awesome…. until, as you say, something unexpected comes along and boom!!!!, your whole day is ruined…..

      I chose my path because it is one of ‘least resistance.’ While I have goals I am working towards, the way to achieve them is not clearly mapped out in my mind or on paper anywhere. I don’t set a definate path because I realize that I still don’t know everything! So because I don’t know everything, why would I think that I would choose the best path?

      If we are implanting our end results into our subconscious, the incredible power of our minds will lead and guide us along the path of least resistance to accomplish our dreams. We just need to have faith in this process. So even though the small distractions up-set your day, maybe, just maybe some of them are there to guide you in a different way to achieving your goals?

      Now that may be something worth thinking about 🙂

      Whatever happens throughout your day, always remember to be kind to yourself….. if you want that extra chocolate, take it and enjoy it, because there is one thing for sure in a vibrational universe like ours: IF YOU BELIEVE SOMETHING IS GOOD, AND YOU DO IT, IT WILL BENEFIT YOU. AND IF YOU BELIEVE SOMETHING IS BAD AND YOU DO IT, IT WILL HARM YOU, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY!

      So, whatever you do, be kind to yourself and enjoy the experience….. no matter what it is.

      Have a great day mate,

      1. Andrew,

        You’ve just nailed it as far as I’m concerned.

        I think it’s time to lay my cards on the table and be completely honest.

        This “Structured and Organized Partha” is actually something that I strive for and always have.

        However, in truth, I’m usually at my happiest when I’m simply “winging it”.

        I’ve spent much of my life winging it and flying by the seat of my pants and one day I came to a “realization” that perhaps if I was a little more structured and organized then things would pan out how I hoped and I’d potentially be a lot happier.

        Funnily enough, I actually wrote in my journal at the beginning of this year that I felt that self-help and personal development may actually be a BAD thing (well for me anyway).

        Because I was becoming so focused on “improving myself” and trying to “develop myself to become a better person” I had this nagging thought that I wasn’t really any happier than before and that perhaps I was putting undue pressure on myself to become something that I’m not, and maybe never likely to be.

        Funnily enough, just to be hypocritical, journaling is something that I learned to do through self-help and personal development, LOL.

        I’ve mentioned previously that I’m fast approaching 3 years now since I started this improvement/developmental journey, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to have some structure in life, to ensure that you do get certain things done, but don’t forget the person that you are.

        So, nowadays I will typically alternate between structure and mayhem (winging it) depending on how I feel that day.

        And Andrew, I ALWAYS eat that extra chocolate, LOL.


        1. Ummmmm, where’s my chocolate???? haha
          Interesting…. Structure is something I have steered away from in the past, but am adding into my life now. Not obsessively, but enough to ensure that I get certain things done at the appropriate times to reach the goals I have. So It’s a good thing!
          I’m lucky because I have come to an understanding that I can be happy with or without the structure, with or without drama, with or without close friends around all the time, and even with or without the extra chocolate!

          I agree with you that too much ‘personal development’ may be a bad thing. It’s not the personal development as such, but more about who is delivering the content and what they are teaching. The term itself sets us up to believe that ‘currently I’m not good enough and I need to develop myself into a better/more productive/more successful person.’

          However, my way of thinking takes a different approach. I believe we are all already perfect souls who chose to forget our magnificence and descended into a physical realm to play a game of being Peter, or Mary, or a tree or the ocean, etc. We did this just for the fun and experience of it. Now I am playing my part perfectly, as are you, and everyone else that exists, has existed, and will exist forevermore.
          Can you imagine if we retained our original memories….. We would all be perfect all of the time, creating anything and everything that we wanted. There would be no conflict, and basically no desire or necessity to create anything. We may as well just go home to the spirit world from where we came.

          So, to play a really great game, we lost our memories and created an environment where contrast exists….. We purposefully included tension, drama, conflict, etc. to make the experience of being in a physical body experience rich and rewarding…… it adds so much to the experience 🙂

          To get back to the point I was trying to make: Here and now, we should consider ourselves as already perfect. If we don’t, we will continually beat up on ourselves….. and what we are thinking about is (coming down on ourselves) is rooting itself deeper into our subconscious programming. This is the exact opposite of what we want to achieve. WE WANT TO ALWAYS BE KIND, LOVING AND SUPPORTIVE OF OURSELVES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND AT ALL TIMES. And then these are the thoughts that when repeated often enough become our new subconscious programs….. and these new beliefs will attract to us circumstances, events, and people, to match these new programs!

          I hope that makes sense? I did want to say…”just be happy, and choose happiness at all times, under all circumstances, and then your life is great.” (however, I felt the explanation was necessary- for those that tend to overthinks sometimes, haha.)

          For certain, we should all pursue personal growth and development, but not because we are currently not good enough, but for the fun, the joy, the excitement, pleasure, love, anticipation of it. FOR ALL THE POSITIVE REASONS, AND NOT FOR ANYTHING NEGATIVE!

          So, get out there and have fun becoming all that you can be, because it is the growth and change that we go through that makes our lives on earth so rewarding and exciting 🙂

          Yeh! Have a great day, my friend 🙂

  5. Oh, yes, monkey mind and negative thoughts. All too familiar, Andrew, I am guilty as well 🙂
    Feeling a victim of the circumstances made me feel helpless to the point I got so fed up with it, that I looked for help.

    At the time it was difficult to admit help from outside could be a solution. Our family didn’t fuss and all that modern therapy stuff was for others, not for us. Until someone, I hardly knew asked me if I would mend a broken leg myself as well? No? So why try to mend a broken mind myself?

    Sometimes we just need a loving kick in the butt to get moving. And sometimes that kick is given by someone who might not even realize it. 🙂
    Great, isn’t it.

    1. Haha, the best advice is often to be found in some flippant remark from someone else. It is great!
      But even better is the fact that you were aware enough to hear it and act upon it. That’s awesome.

      And this is what our journey of self-discovery is all about…. being able to grasp knowledge, wisdom, and ideas that will be for our benefit, and then putting them into practice to enhance our lives.

      Have a great day Hannie 🙂
      With much respect,

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