As we approach Thanksgiving, it’s a great opportunity to ponder whether you live in a state of abundance or scarcity (regardless of your circumstances). While your fundamental attitude and personality type influence your views, there is an opportunity to shift your mindset with intentional focus.
Here are seven benefits of gratitude (source):
- Gratitude opens the door to relationships. Showing appreciation helps make and maintain friendships.
- Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains.
- Gratitude improves psychological health by reducing toxic emotions and negativity.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. You will be less likely to retaliate against others, even when faced with negative feedback.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem by reducing social comparisons. Being happy for others’ accomplishments reduces envy and keeps people from feeling inadequate in comparison.
- Gratitude increases mental strength. An attitude of abundance is helpful in overcoming trauma and a major contributor to resilience.
The Abundance vs Scarcity mindset (source)
By focusing on scarcity and on things that you lack, you can often (ironically) invite more of those things into your life. By thinking about your bills, debts, hardships and frustrating relationships, your energy is drained and you can be trapped in a loop that finds and focuses on examples of them (self-fulfilling prophecies).
Abundance on the other hand, is a different kind of mindset and it leads us to a different path in life. It focuses on the things that we have and are thankful for, and on the great experiences that we come across in our journey. It also includes a proactive stance to encourage putting energy into the right directions for you.
It is much easier to focus on gratitude when you look around at a world that is already filled with good things. However, in order to get to a life of gratitude in the first place, you have to start thinking about it, and adjust the lens of how you perceive your situation. In other words the mindset comes first! When our children were younger, part of the bedtime routine was for each child to tell me three things they were thankful for that day (the family dog got lots of shout-outs!). We heard some amazing, heart -warming (and often silly) things on the gratitude recitals, however it really was a great way to end a day. It is still a family tradition to talk openly about gratitude.
Here is another source:
“The scarcity mindset revolves around the idea that there simply isn’t enough to go around, always focusing on the extreme short term of every decision. Typically, the abundance mentality focuses on the long-term and involves a deep understand that just because you don’t get to have something right now does not mean you won’t be able to have it later.
Obviously, personal finance is much easier if you have an abundance mindset. You don’t feel the need to spend money as soon as you get it because you know there will always be more of it.”
Here are eight tactics to switch to an abundance mindset:
Have appreciative conversations.
Focus on things you do have rather than things you don’t. Focus on the big things you and your loved ones are working toward. Talk about achievements.
Organize your home and life.
You’ll be able to see how much you do have and how much time is available to put to good use.
Reduce media consumption.
Media cultivates desire for things you don’t have, a key element of scarcity. Advertisements are bad enough, but sometimes it’s the programs or articles themselves that contribute to the mentality. Use the time instead to do something for yourself, something outside or with your hands. Ground yourself in your life instead of wishing for a life that seems out of reach.
Share with others.
Sharing feels good, and you’ve improved someone else’s life, however marginally. Plus, you don’t often miss what you’ve shared. When you share regularly, people are more likely to share in return, fulfilling your life in ways you might not have attempted before. It’s also not just about money or stuff, but sharing time and attention and knowledge and friendships.
Try to create win-win situations.
Scarcity believes that for every one winner, there are one or more losers. Not everyone wins because there isn’t enough to go around. Combat this by creating situations where everybody gains. Host potluck dinners, swap tasks with people who don’t have your skillset who can do something you can’t, so you both come out better.
Look for positives even in the losses.
Sometimes bad things happen. More often than not, there are positives hidden in the negatives. Lose your job? Maybe you’ll find something closer and a better match for your life chapter. A close friend moves away? Maybe you’ll have the chance to travel somewhere new to see them, and when they’re gone, your time with another friend may grow. Keep in mind that at least some good can come out of most situations, and even with really bad circumstances, there’s growth to be had.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
When someone gets something you don’t have, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have it, or something else equally good. Be happy for them and tell yourself your turn is coming. Social media is particularly bad for comparisons, because people post about the highlights of their life, so everything looks rosier than reality. If you’re comparing the entirety of your life, good, bad and ugly, to someone else’s highlights, of course it’s going to be difficult to keep up. This is where cutting back on media helps.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Spending time every day noting the good things in your life helps keep a positive perspective. So even if something bad happens, you can see that it didn’t happen to everything in your life. Every day, big or small, there are moments of joy to be savored. Keeping a journal helps you seek those moments out and remember them for later to write down, and in the remembering, you’re giving them more importance than the negativity weighing you down.
Sending gratitude and an abundant mindset to each of you as you launch into the holidays.
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