All of us are familiar with the “glass is half full or half empty” outlooks.
Moving into the holiday season with COVID in high gear, it is very easy for our mindset to move to the “half empty” mindset of what we don’t have. Although it is true that this year our celebrations might be downsized, our pocketbooks might be tighter, and our travel plans might be limited, dwelling on the “have nots” can lead to increased feelings of depression and anxiety. This perspective, often called the “scarcity mindset,” is our brain’s natural tendency to focus on the negative.
I invite you to consider the “half full” or “abundance mindset” as an alternative perspective that requires some intentional actions at this stressful time. A mindset of abundance has been shown to improve mood and decrease anxiety. Ways to create an abundance mindset include:
• Practicing gratitude by focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have.
This practice might involve making a list each day of five things that we are grateful for or simply looking back over the day and reflecting on what went well.
Looking for ways to create win-win solutions instead of the “win-lose” mentality
We don’t have to look any further than this election year to know that the “I’m right and you are wrong” mentality is alive and well in our world today. Although standing for what we believe in is important, if our need to be right interferes with our ability to care for each other as human beings — there is a lot we lose. In many situations, the question is: How can both parties walk away feeling as if they accomplished something and feel good about the relationship? Perhaps it is even saying “Let’s agree to disagree” and then move on to things you have in common.
• Facing adversity with the question, “How can I grow or what can I learn from this struggle?”
When we face hard times, it can take a long time to get back on our feet. Once again, focusing on our losses can send us into a negative spiral. Focusing on how we can learn and grow through a struggle can lead to a more positive outlook.
Make no mistake, 2020 has changed our lives in ways we never imagined a year ago. I hope that the abundance mindset will create resilience that will help us face whatever lies ahead.