Negative Thoughts Are Not ONLY In Your Head

As I pulled up in front of the office this morning I caught a line from the Counting Crows’ song, Round Here, “She says ‘Shhh I know it’s only in my head'”

I wanted to shout into the radio, “IT’S NOT ONLY IN YOUR HEAD!”

And of course the intensity of my reaction made me realize that I needed to hear that! But I also thought I would share it with you.

So often we get caught up in the futile act of chasing self-defeating thoughts around our head. If you’ve ever tried to turn off a “negative” thought you know how difficult it can be.

A slightly better approach is to replace that negative thought. But even then, a deeply embedded thought may take days or weeks or possibly even years to completely replace.

That’s because it’s not only in your head!

You heard me right. Thoughts do not live just in your head or your brain or your mind. Thoughts are alive and they live in your emotions. They live in your body. They live in the very essence of your life force.

The thoughts that you are aware of are just the tip of the iceburg. They are the little bit that you can see. The rest of the thought, for most people, lies hidden from view.

And that’s why understanding that a negative thought is not only in your head can be extremely helpful. When you understand that, then you can begin transforming those thoughts on many different levels.

Adam Kayce wrote a post yesterday that got me thinking more about how we solve our personal development “problems.”

He brilliantly connected these two quotes:

The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown. — Carl Jung

The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. — Albert Einstein

When you attempt to “turn off” a negative thought or even replace it with a more empowering thought, you are doing exactly what Einstein tells us can’t be done.

Do you want to change a thought? Then change your feeling. Change the state of your physical body. Change your energy.

Look at those quotes and feel the power they give you to change yourself:

First, let go of this idea that negative thoughts are “problems.” They are not problems. They are opportunities to transform your life! You can’t solve them. And you don’t want to solve them. But you can outgrow them.

You can evolve through them to the next level of your personal growth!

And once you understand that your negative thoughts are not problems, it becomes much easier to follow Einstein’s advice and move to a different level.

So the next time you hear the Counting Crows, or anyone, telling you “It’s only in your head,” you can just smile and calmly say, “No it’s not.”

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      13 Responses to “Negative Thoughts Are Not ONLY In Your Head”

      1. Quint on July 27th, 2007 10:31 am

        I think your post is excellent. The only time this theory breaks down is in people with depression. Often times it takes therapy and/or medication to bring a person struggling with depression to the point that they can have this kind of relationship with their thoughts and emotions.

        Realizing that thoughts and emotions are alive and have a powerful impact on your daily life is a great first step toward personal transformation.

      2. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work on July 27th, 2007 1:15 pm

        Thanks for the link, Edward.

        Interesting, your comment about shifting to your emotions rather than replacing one thought with another…

        … maybe it’s too linear of a way to look at it, but I was taught that beliefs create emotions, as if emotions are “downstream” from beliefs. So, if you’re looking to “grow beyond” the old beliefs, it’s a perspective-change that’s needed… a shift in the pictures, rather than emotions.

        I see what you’re saying, though, and the LoA’s emphasis on emotions is giving me pause to re-examine the way I look at transformation. Interesting stuff, isn’t it?

      3. Edward Mills on July 27th, 2007 6:39 pm

        Quint: I agree with you, and I don’t see it as a breakdown in the theory. In fact, it seems to be a perfect expression of needing to approach the “problem” – negative thoughts and/or emotions at another level – physical.

      4. Edward Mills on July 27th, 2007 6:43 pm

        Adam: For a while I tried to create a hierarchy of perception – instinct, feelings, emotions, thoughts, intuition. But it always seemed to fall apart at some point. So, while there may be some evolutionary validity in the idea of upstream or downstream perceptions, I now believe that, for most us, our perceptions are cyclical with none being “better” or “worse.” If I can use a shift in my feeling state to change a non-supportive thought, I’ll do it. If going out and running up the side of a mountain helps me break through a deeply embedded emotion, I’ll do it.

        Basically, I’m going to use every tool and every doorway into my awareness to facilitate change and growth.

      5. Laura Young on July 28th, 2007 7:52 am

        Hi Edward,
        Let a fellow Counting Crows fan chip in here…I actually do really well with the “only in my head” thought but maybe it’s just a matter of how I approach that. I have been absolutely fascinated by the process of psychological projection and also like Byron Katie’s work (Loving What Is). So often when I find myself reacting negatively to situations I have found that by going inward, doing some serious reflection and meditation and contemplation on the issue I find the roots of so much that disturbs me to be errors in my own thought.
        Now I will say that it fits with Einstein’s comments in that my negative state has to be elevated in order for myself to get out of the thought pattern but instead of changing my emotion or body…hmm…how do I say this…the process of meditation ends up quieting that so I uncouple the results of the thought (anger, frustration, muscle tension) from the thought itself so it gets the thought back into just my head. Is that making sense.
        Maybe the problem is that at first this stuff doesn’t feel like it is just in my head. It’s everywhere, as you say, and that thought “it’s only in my head” serves to take me in to the root of it, just the thought without the fallout, sitting there in my head and that seems to take much of the wind out of its sails. It makes me go into that question Byron Katie asks, “Is this really true?” You know, just because it’s in your head, doesn’t mean you should believe it.

      6. Jennifer on August 2nd, 2007 3:23 pm

        I totally agree! The universe and people around you act toward you based on how you approach them. I think we do this without realizing it is happening. For instance, if you don’t want to see someone and you show up there to meet the person as planned, why should you be suprized if they’re not home? On the other hand, if you want to see that person with intense interest and authenticity, there is no doubt that person would be waiting at their door moments before you enter, with a smile! This has been my expereince, when I am totally present and realize how I am approaching situations.

      7. Edward Mills on August 2nd, 2007 3:39 pm

        Laura: I think that maybe we’re talking about the same thing but using different terms. I’m a big believer in the power of meditation, contemplation and introspection to bring change and transformation.

        I have also found myself, and clients, stuck in a “head” space where the intellect/ego is running amok and won’t get out of the way. At those times my experience has taught me that trying to overthrow my ego with more powerful intellectual reasoning just doesn’t work. Meditation sometimes works, if I can get my mind to shut up. But almost always, shifting to another doorway into my essence – physical body, emotions, etc. – serves to shift me.

      8. Edward Mills on August 2nd, 2007 3:42 pm

        Jennifer: You’re right on.

      9. Paul Blankenship on August 5th, 2007 7:37 pm

        Good observation. Neuro-linguistic programming practitioners (I am not one, but have read some about it) and Tony Robbins teach techniques that address this issue.

      10. Edward Mills on August 6th, 2007 9:38 am

        Paul. I haven’t studied NLP or Tony, but my intuitive training has definitely taught me that looking beyond the mind into the emotions and the physical body can be a powerful way to change negative thoughts and patterns.

      11. Harveen on August 7th, 2007 9:16 am


        Great view to this issue of negative thoughts that permeate our lives. When I starting thinking a negative thought, I replace itwith a positive affirmation. So, are you saying in doing this, Im not addressing the real problem, which is where the thought itself stems from. Im just ducking my head in sand and not doing it Jung’s way, Im not outgrowing it?

      12. Edward Mills on August 7th, 2007 9:31 pm

        Harveen. I’m not suggesting that dealing with negative thoughts at the level of thought is a bad thing. I’m only saying that for me, and for many people I have worked with, successfully and sustainably replacing a negative thought with a positive one can be very difficult. If it works for you, great! But if not, try shifting your perception to your feelings or your physical body and see what happens.

      13. Mike McDermott on April 14th, 2009 6:16 pm

        I would like to hear what you think about overly positive people. I personally have a hard time listening to people that are consistently negative. I am a good listener for many types of conversations, however folks that are very negative really tweak me.

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