It’s my baby boy’s 14th birthday. We just finished making him French toast, and I’m watching the snow fall.
There isn’t too much to do. Can’t go see a movie. Can’t make holiday brunch with friends. Can’t treat ourselves to a meal out. Can’t safely travel. Can’t see our family over the holidays.
In other words, easy to slip into a scarcity mindset. Quite easily, actually.
My coaching practice is full these days and I’m seeing a theme. Many of my clients are feeling tired, depleted, overwhelmed, and anxious from living through the ups and downs of the past 9 months.
No “Right” Way to Cope During a Pandemic
Firstly, it’s important to know that there’s no right way to feel right now. There is no “right” way to cope during a pandemic.
Experts say the coronavirus crisis has taken a greater toll on women, and it’s okay if all you have been doing is surviving.
I’ll repeat that again. It’s okay if all you have been doing is surviving.
As I learned in my yoga teacher training and share with my students each class on the mat, we are learning to let go of judgement and expectation. I think a lot of us are struggling with what is the “right” way to feel right now. And here’s a newsflash: just because many are struggling greatly out there, doesn’t mean your anxiety, or your job stress, or marital issues or parenting struggles have gone on break. Other peoples’ suffering does not lessen our own daily struggles.
These have been REALLY hard times. So, try to offer yourself some compassion. You are doing the best that you can at any given moment and that is enough. There is no “right” way to experience a global pandemic.
If you’ve been living with a scarcity mindset, especially as we approach the holidays, let’s try and get you to open to moving towards an abundance mindset.
A person with an abundance mindset focuses on the limitless opportunities available for them in life (and business). They choose to focus on the positive things in their life rather than the negative things. People with an abundance mindset are more grateful, more creative and more focused on collaboration. Abundance energy is what opens doors and makes people and things show up for you.
A simple example of the differences between a fixed and abundant mindset is:
- A Fixed Mindset often plays “the victim,” with a “Why is this happening to me?” mentality.
- The Abundance Mindset is ‘In the drivers seat” with a “What is this trying to teach me?” mentality.
See the difference?
If you are struggling right now with your mindset, it’s important to look for what you CAN do. Because sometimes we just cannot change our situations – so we have to change or shift our mindset. We have to change our attitude about our situation. It helps a lot.
Labeling Negative Thoughts
The key is to start by labeling our negative thoughts. Thoughts like, “I have no energy,” or “I have no money,” or “I don’t deserve happiness.” We want to declare our limiting beliefs to ourself and then overcome the negative bias.
But what is the negative bias, you might ask? The negative bias is our tendency to dwell on the negative. Dr. Rick Hansen says, “Our mind is like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.” We let negative experiences stick to us, and we let the good moments roll off of us.
Alright, so how do we overcome these limiting beliefs?
One strategy is an anchoring exercise called thought challenging. Thought challenging is about challenging our negative thoughts, some of which we sometimes take as fact, even when they’re not necessarily true. Thought challenging will allow you to consider things from a more objective perspective, rather than just assuming what you are feeling is fact or truth.
Let’s get clearer. Thought challenging is finding out how we can balance a negative thought with a more healthy one.
Let’s look at a real example:
- “I am never going to get this done on time!” A challenge to that thought might be something like, “Maybe if I take unnecessary things off my to-do list, I can finish by my deadline. What can I put off to the spring that ins’t a MUST-DO right now?”
To have a more abundant mindset, we have to purposefully challenge and balance the negative thoughts.
And Gratitude helps!
Let’s talk gratitude! It’s the attitude!
First off, gratitude reduces stress. Cultivating appreciation and other positive emotions lower your levels of stress hormones, actually a 23% reduction in cortisol. That’s pretty significant.
Gratitude will also improve the quality of your sleep. Regularly focusing on thankfulness and gratitude leads to improved quality of sleep and even results in longer sleep hours. It also helps you waking up feeling more refreshed in the morning.
So wild, I know!
Here is my thinking. The mood is a little dismal in my home today. My older son is upset because we didn’t let him travel with his friend who invited him away. My baby, whose birthday it is today as you know, is upset he can’t see his friends. The holidays might not be what we had hoped, but I have decided that MY ATTITUDE WILL MAKE MY HOLIDAY.
We’re going to head outside soon and skate at an ODR (outdoor rink), we’re going to order take out tonight, eat cake, we’ll watch a movie or play a board game. He’ll FaceTime his friends. I will focus on what we have this holiday. It’ll bake, and cook, and nest, and clean up, and take bubble baths, and plan my 2021, and feel gratitude. It might not have been what I planned, but hey, if I let myself slide into a negative or scarcity mindset, then I’m really going to have a shitty holiday.
We could have COVID, we could be sick, there could be a helluva lotta things that could be worse.
I decided I’m not focusing on what’s missing. I’m focusing on what’s here now, what I can take advantage of, and what I can appreciate.
I encourage you to do the same.
More ideas? Unplug as much as possible this holiday season, stop comparisons between what you have and what those around you have (not everything is as you see it as well), give back or volunteer if you can, to name a few.
SURRENDER to what could have been, to make room and possibility what WHAT IS, AND WHAT IS WONDERFUL RIGHT NOW.
To summarize, our thoughts really do shape our lives (good or bad), as do the habits we practice daily over time (good or bad).
We can have an amazing holiday. All we need is to shift our mindset.