What Causes Negativity?

Have you ever asked yourself “What is causing my sadness and negativity?” Perhaps you have been struggling for some time now and have been wondering how some people “catch” negativity, while others seem immune to it.

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Sadness and negativity are complex and may be influenced by a wide variety of factors. Sometimes it may seem easy to explain why a given person is struggling with negativity, in cases of physical illness, major life change, or a loss.

However, there are also times when it quite challenging to pinpoint a specific reason. The latter can be very frustrating, especially if you want to make a conscious effort for a happier life because it is difficult to fight with something when you don’t know what it is exactly.

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Common Origins

Let’s take a look into some of the most common reasons behind the development of sadness and negativity. You may not be influenced by any of them, or a few may have impacted your life. Whatever the case may be, understanding the underlying reasons for your negativity is the first step to making a difference for the better.


People who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused in their past, or are currently being abused, are at a higher risk of suffering from negativity, and even depression. More so, any personal trauma can trigger depression.


There are certain medications, whose long and short-term side-effects may include certain changes in the mood. If you are taking any medication or have done so for a continued period of the last six months, make sure you increase your awareness about that drug and its possible side-effects.


Sadness and negativity can occur as a result of conflict and disagreements with people who we consider important.

Often conflict can trigger unpleasant emotions, even if the other party is not someone close to you. In those cases, it may be helpful to consider what are the underlying thoughts that may be causing your reaction.

If your working environment or living arrangement is hostile and conflicting, it is no surprise that you are not feeling very well. As a helpful daily reminder, know that resolving conflict is often the condition for evolving as a happy individual.


Divorce, alienation from a friend or a family member, losing your job, significant lifestyle changes, etc., can all influence how you see life. Loss is the ultimate stressor, and so it is no surprise that that can easily lead to a negative, pessimistic outlook on life.

Sadly, we can’t always get back what we have lost. If you have made an objective effort to mend relationships or resolve whatever the problem may be, then you might have to move on to accepting the loss.


If you have been raised with a lot of negativity in your life, if your parents and caregivers had a difficult time seeing all that is wonderful in life, then you might have assimilated some of the same behavioral models.

Even if that is true in your case, there is one vital aspect of the situation, which you must keep in mind, if you hope to make any positive change.

Your childhood might not have been ideal, but you are an adult now. You are responsible for your behavior and way of thinking.

Most importantly – you are solely responsible for your happiness. Looking for excuses in your childhood will only keep you from creating a life that you’d be happy with.

Big Changes in Life

Even positive events, such as finishing school, getting a job, or getting married, can lead to confusing emotions and negativity. The reason is that those highly positive events in your life may also be highly stressful.

They may bring out your insecurities and make you wonder if you can handle the new circumstances. It is up to you to uncover what is worrying you. Then, all you can do is your best, in addition to focusing on the positive.

Other Personal Problems

Such as social isolation or excommunication from the group you want to be a part of. If that has happened to you, it is a tough situation to deal with. However, remember that relationships can be mended, and even if that is not the case, you can always find new social groups, if you work towards that goal.

Physical Illness

Physical illness may often lead to emotional suffering. The best approach you can take to improving both your physical and mental health is talking to a psychotherapist and a physician. Between the two, you will receive very helpful insight into improving your situation.


It can be both fueled by and lead to emotional suffering. About 30 % of people who are addicted to alcohol, or other substances, have a history of clinical depression.

In case you fear that you are a loved one may be addicted to a substance, the best and most effective course of action is to seek immediate help, from a hotline, a psychotherapist, or a physician.


If you have a tendency to disrespect yourself, there is a greater chance your reaction to a stressor will be negative. Poor self-esteem may result in pessimistic reactions to events and opportunities, which are very positive. The best way to deal with that is to look into improving your self-image.

There is a Way Out

Whatever your personal case may be, remember that negativity is not a permanent part of who you are, regardless of what might have caused it. You decide who to be and how to perceive the world, so you can take steps, even if they are small and steady, towards dealing with negativity.

Full reference: 

, (Jan 20, 2016). What Causes Negativity?. Retrieved Jun 13, 2024 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/e/what-causes-negativity

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