Negative Thinkingaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Depression and Sadness

What is Negative Thinking?

Negative thinking, a common affliction in the tapestry of human experience, is characterized by persistent pessimistic attitudes and a propensity toward unfavorable or harmful thoughts. It can erode one's sense of well-being, affecting mental health and physical health alike.

Synonymous with destructive and harmful thinking, these patterns of thought can contribute to a wide range of psychological disturbances, becoming a habitual response to life's challenges and stressors.

How does TCM View Negative Thinking?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches negative thinking not just as a symptom but as a signal of deeper imbalances within the body's energetic system. Unlike Western medicine, which often treats symptoms in isolation, TCM seeks to understand the unique interplay of forces within an individual, known as their 'pattern'.

This pattern is indicative of the specific nature of disharmony—be it in Qi, Blood, Yin, or Yang—that underpins the symptom. Identifying this pattern is vital, as it directs the practitioner to the most suitable treatment strategy.

Root Causes of Negative Thinking in TCM

In the TCM perspective, negative thinking often stems from imbalances such as Blood Stasis, where the vital flow of Blood is impeded, leading to emotional stagnation and mental distress. For example, Heart Blood Stagnation might present as destructive thoughts alongside physical symptoms like chest pain or a feeling of oppression in the chest.

Addressing this pattern is not simply about alleviating the mind's distress; it involves restoring the smooth flow of Blood and Qi throughout the body, thereby improving both emotional and physical health.

Explore below more details about what might cause Negative thinking according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Blood Stasis
  • Heart
Detailed description of the cause

Blood Stasis

Blood Stasis in TCM is a concept where the blood flow in the body is not as smooth or efficient as it should be. Imagine a river that's supposed to flow freely, but instead, it's getting blocked or moving too slowly in some parts. This can lead to various health issues, like pain that feels sharp or stabbing, dark bruises, and a complexion that looks purplish. TCM believes that good health relies on the smooth and vibrant flow of Qi and blood throughout the body, so when blood gets stuck, it's like a traffic jam in your body, leading to discomfort or health problems.... see more

Blood Stasis Patterns That Can Lead to Negative Thinking

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Stagnation Destructive thoughts, Stabbing chest pain, Chest constriction, Feeling of oppression of the chest Xiao Tiao Jing Tang
Detailed description of the cause


In TCM the Heart is considered the "emperor" of all organs, primarily responsible for governing Blood and housing the mind, known as "Shen." It plays a crucial role in maintaining mental-emotional equilibrium and controlling the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body. When the Heart is imbalanced or malfunctions in TCM, it can lead to a range of issues like heart palpitations, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, and a flushed complexion. Emotional disturbances such as excessive joy or lack of joy are also seen as signs of Heart disharmony. These symptoms reflect not just physical heart conditions but also the state of one's Shen, indicating the interconnectedness of physical and emotional well-being in TCM.... see more

Heart Patterns That Can Lead to Negative Thinking

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heart Blood Stagnation Destructive thoughts, Stabbing chest pain, Chest constriction, Feeling of oppression of the chest Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Negative Thinking

TCM treatment for negative thinking is personalized, with formulas and herbs carefully selected to correspond with the individual's identified pattern. For Heart Blood Stagnation, a practitioner might recommend a formula like Xiao Tiao Jing Tang.

This blend includes key herbs like White Peony Roots, known for their ability to tonify Blood and alleviate stasis. Such treatments aim to harmonize the internal systems, thus easing the mind and fostering a more positive outlook.

See more details below about Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, a herbal formula used to address negative thinking.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Blood Stasis
  • Formulas that regulate blood

TCM Herbs for Negative Thinking

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address negative thinking, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency

"Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency" recommended for negative thinking

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) Xiao Tiao Jing Tang
Dong Quai (Dang Gui) Xiao Tiao Jing Tang