Do you ever feel like you just don’t have enough? Whether it be money, time, energy, or something else; it is a common feeling people experience. This feeling can be disempowering and might lead to other negative emotions. That’s why therapist, Stephanie Gilbert, offers five strategies to help address the feeling of not having enough.
Stephanie Gilbert, LMFT, BICBT-CC, has been in practice for many years, helping clients find greater satisfaction in life. She uses a holistic approach to therapy, fusing methods like CBT, DBT, and mindfulness to help patients cope with difficult emotions and thoughts.
A pervasive feeling of not having enough, also known as a scarcity mindset, is an issue many people struggle with. People with a scarcity mindset are more likely to experience negative emotions like anxiety, anger, and depression. A study found that this problem changes the neural processing that underlies decision-making and reduces the empathetic reaction to the suffering of others.
Picture credits: Kate Haus, photographer from Los Angeles
In a recent conversation, Stephanie suggested these five methods for overcoming the sense of scarcity or lack.
Examine Your Motivation
It’s easy to get sucked into the lie that “if I just had more, then I would be happy, and my life would be complete.” According to Stephanie, it can often feel like we’d be content if we just had a bigger house, a fancier car, or a grander vacation. If you think like that, step back and ask yourself why these things will bring you joy. Is it because they meet an intrinsic need, or is it something else?
Examining your motivation with yourself can help you determine the underlying feeling of not having enough and make you work on that aspect of your personality.
Understand Your Cravings
Though similar, each person’s set of cravings and triggers are distinct, and can either uplift or derail one’s behavior and choices. It’s important to look honestly at our yearning to understand why we do what we do.
Too often, mindless eating, drinking, or shopping can lead to unhappiness and create a cycle of feeling like you never have enough. “Cravings don’t lead to happiness, and often fulfilling cravings leave us with more problems than solutions,” Stephanie reveals.
Cravings often indicate a deeper issue that needs attention, such as unresolved feelings or mental health issues. Identify underlying triggers and take charge of your cravings instead of letting them control you.
Live in the Moment
It’s easy to live in the future or the past, but it’s important to be present here and now. It means learning to appreciate what we have and focusing more on the present moment. As Stephanie eloquently puts it, living in the now is the only way to experience true happiness. She also recommends a “three-breath exercise” while taking in your immediate surroundings. According to a study, practicing mindfulness can help bring more satisfaction and joy into our lives.
According to Stephanie, focusing on what you are grateful for is a fabulous way to shift your mindset and reframe how you perceive the world. Each night, make it a habit to write down three things you were thankful for during the day. Gratitude can increase well-being, improve mental health, and build life satisfaction. We can stop constantly wanting more by expressing gratitude for what we already have.
In positive psychology research, regularly practicing gratitude has been associated with improved overall well-being and overcoming the feeling of scarcity.
This principle also improves our mental health and life satisfaction. It helps us feel connected to others. You can give back by volunteering somewhere, donating to a cause you believe in, or assisting a neighbor down the street to mow their lawn. Actions like this can also give us a sense of belonging and purpose, increasing life satisfaction.
Most importantly, giving back is a prescription for a sound mind and body, alleviating our stress and high blood pressure, all while providing us with a longer, happier life. Therapist Stephanie Gilbert has a passion for helping people find greater satisfaction in life and believes these five strategies can help address the feeling of not having enough.