Many types of stress are rooted in a scarcity mindset. You may obsess over not having enough free time, money, or companionship. The deprivation associated with a perceived lack of that which is fundamental to your well-being may turn into a preoccupation that influences every aspect of your day-to-day activities. While a scarcity mindset is the brain’s natural biological reaction to the threat posed by inadequate resources, those who develop a scarcity mindset may find themselves operating at a disadvantage.
What are the downsides to a scarcity mindset? The stress associated with constantly operating in a crisis mode can cause you to make impulsive decisions. In addition, a scarcity mindset may contribute to a chronic stress condition. Basing your thinking on a status quo of inferiority and deprivation may cause you to erect mental barriers to happiness and success. As a result, you may be prone to making poor life choices as the decision-making center in your brain shifts from the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that contributes to planning and personality development, to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with emergency “fight or flight” responses and pain management.
Combating a scarcity mindset involves implementing strategies that cede power to the prefrontal cortex of your brain. Plan to develop a healthier life perspective via the following strategies.
1. Look at the Big Picture
Notice any unhealthy behaviors you are engaging in that could possibly be a result of your mindset. Are you settling for less, because you perceive a scarcity in something you want? For example, you may stay in an abusive relationship because you feel you will be lonely and there will be a shortage of available people who are interested in you. Developing perspective involves pinpointing the mentality behind your motivations in life, which may help explain why you may keep finding yourself in the same situations again and again.
2. Focus on What You Have, Instead of on What You Lack
One stressor does not define you as a person. Instead of dwelling on what you lack, create an abundance mentality by making a list of the things you do have, such as family, friends, or achievements. List any skills and abilities you have that may be unique to you.
3, Identify your Priorities
Decide whether the thing you perceive to be lacking is truly important to you. Identify the things you value most in life, such as family, friends, work, romantic relationships, hobbies, and then contextualize your feelings with regard to your priorities. You may find that the thing you perceive to be lacking is not as important to you as you thought it was.
4. Take Risks
When you feel deprived, you feel that your resources are scarce. You may avoid risk-taking because you may not wish to lose what little you have. And, yet, breaking out of this mentality involves taking some degree of risk. Ask yourself if the approach you’ve been taking has been paying off so far, and allow yourself to feel comfortable with the fact that a positive outcome could result from risk-taking behavior.
5. Plan for the Long Term
When you’re stressed, you’re likely to operate in the present, seeking to mitigate whatever stressor is causing you emotional pain. Your motivation to alleviate your anxieties in the present will prevent you from the long-term thinking involved in good decision making. Instead, allow yourself to think about what will happen years down the line.
6. Anticipate Harmful Thoughts and Actions
Recognize which situations trigger poor decision-making impulses and plan a strategy that will allow you to circumvent these situations. If you feel lonely, for example, you may be prone to dialing the number of your ex. Anticipating harmful thoughts and actions may involve consciously taking steps to avoid certain situations in which you feel vulnerable to poor decision making. You may want to remove the possibility of temptation altogether, for example, by deleting your ex’s number from your phone.
7. Surround Yourself with Supportive People
You may find yourself feeling jealous or competitive if other people have what you lack. Unfortunately, if you push people away, you will inevitably exacerbate the stress associated with scarcity, creating a vicious cycle in which relief is only possible via positive, judgment-free relationships with others. Social support is a proven barrier against the effects of stress.
A scarcity mindset is based on the perception that there are limited resources available for your use. This may contribute to poor life decisions and patterns of behavior that hold you back from achieving your full potential. With greater perspective, support, and self-care comes an abundance mentality and a better quality of life.
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