Where Negative Thoughts Come From and How to Change Them

Negative thoughts… we’ve all got them. But where do they come from? Kids and adults alike probably think that negative thoughts just happen but in actuality there are four places that they may come from.

  1. We fail at something or make a mistake: Instead of seeing failure as a necessary part of success, instead we decide that we are a failure as in: “I never do anything right.”
  2. We hear criticism: Regardless of how the criticism may have been delivered, whether positive or negative, we decide that we have disappointed someone: “You’re mad at me.” “You don’t like me.”
  3. We experience the disapproval of others: Whether the disapproval is real or imagined we feel left out and unloved. “Nobody likes me.”
  4. We worry or are anxious: Rather than focusing on a positive future, we allow “What-if” thoughts that focus on the possibility of failure to dominate our thinking:  “What if give the wrong answer? Everyone will make fun of me.”

Helping kids understand where negative thoughts come from is the first step to taking control of our self talk, changing our perceptions, and ultimately changing negative thoughts and feelings to positive ones.

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