Today’s world is characterized by excess. There’s no dearth of resources to go around, and the availability of goods has never been more widespread or more convenient.
This wasn’t always the case though. Back in the age of the hunter-gatherers, life was defined by limits. Limits on the amount of food one could possibly procure, on the shelter they could find. In simple terms, the origin of mankind was defined in many ways by a huge imbalance between demand and supply.
Researchers have traced the beginnings of a ‘scarcity mindset’ back to those times, as part of their attempts to understand its effects and implications in the present-day. At this point, maybe you’re wondering why and how pre-historic conditions are related to how human beings react to situations in the present day. Well, keep reading for the answer!
Ask yourself if you’ve ever felt envious of a friend’s success? Dissatisfied with your own professional growth? Irritated with those ‘ahead’ of you in one way or another? We’re guessing yes. And these are examples of the kinds of thoughts that result from a scarcity mindset. It leads us to believe that more is better — so we’re constantly chasing the next big thing. That big raise. That promotion. The newest phone.
While it’s good to strive for more, fixating on what you could have, and not appreciating what you already do, can lead to constant self-doubt, fear, anxiety, and a sense of restlessness. This is something that’s only aggravated by the social media age we live in. These platforms give us a curated snapshot of others’ lives — updates only the good, that neatly gloss over the bad. This creates a false narrative in our minds; that their lives are better, happier, cooler. More often than not though, that’s an inaccurate assessment — which leaves us feeling inadequate about ourselves. And we know that’s no way to live.
So what’s the solution? The answer is working towards an attitude of appreciation — of being grateful for what you have. This is what’s known as an abundance mindset. The name may suggest it’s all about having ‘more’ of everything, when in fact, it’s all about cultivating gratitude that pulls you out of a scarcity mindset.
Getting there isn’t easy, but here are a few simple things you can do to facilitate the process.
Remind yourself of what you have
Easier said than done? Not really. If we really try, it’s plain to see that most of us have a lot to be grateful for.
Make a list every night before bed.
- Write down three things you’re grateful for
- Start with what may seem like the most obvious — clean water to drink, a roof over your head, your loved ones, your health
Soon enough, you’ll realize that you have everything you could possibly need to be happy.
Reframe your thoughts
This is a technique often used in therapy that helps one look at a situation, person, or relationship differently. It can also be done at home if you’re stuck in a loop of negative thinking. At its core, reframing thoughts is all about changing the ‘frame’ through which we see a certain situation. When the frame shifts, so does your view on the situation, and this results in positive behavioural change.
An example of a pattern that could benefit from reframing is ‘all or nothing’ thinking. Simply put, it refers to thinking in extremes. You’re either perfect, or a failure. You are either totally good, or totally bad. Here’s an example — say you made a big presentation at work, where you only fumbled once. A person indulging in all or nothing thinking would fixate on the one small part that went wrong, instead of focusing on everything that went right, and assume the presentation was a complete disaster. However, objectively speaking, this is completely untrue — one mistake doesn’t define an entire experience — and reframing your thoughts helps you realize that.
Journal and reflect intentionally
Journaling can help us understand our reactions to a situation, and deal with feelings of fear and negativity. Start out by setting an intention for your journaling practice — it should focus on acknowledging and processing your feelings. Then, ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers:
- Am i thinking about this situation or problem from a scarcity perspective?
- Is there any evidence to suggest that this opportunity is scarce and not abundant?
- Where in my life do I already have or feel abundance?
- What actions can I take to increase abundance in my life? or in someone else’s life?
There’s nothing stopping you from being a happier, more content version of yourself — follow these simple steps, and allow them to transform your mind, and eventually your life.
Credits – Dr Divya Kannan, Clinical Psychologist at cure.fit