Journaling for abundance can help shift your thinking away from a mindset of lack.
For about a year now, I’ve been trying to confront and improve a deeply-rooted mindset of mine. Since I can remember, my default thought has been “not enough.” This translates in a variety of ways, both large and small. It also applies to how I feel about my contributions and what I gain or earn.
I often feel that I’m not giving enough or creating enough in my jobs and that I will inevitably let people down. On the flip side, I can also feel like I don’t have enough material possessions—almost as if there’s a scarcity, and I’m always scrambling to get what I need—even when it comes to small things.
For example, when I finish off a carton of almond milk, I have a slight moment of panic: what if I can’t afford another carton?! Soon, my rational self will kick in and remind my panicked self that I am employed, and I do have money to buy almond milk. Also, I have a pantry full of kitchen staples, and I will not go hungry.
In addition to this faux perceived scarcity of food, I will worry that I, as a person, am not enough—not pretty enough, not bright enough, not brave enough…
Clearly, this pervasive feeling of lack has been hard to conquer completely. At this point, however, I at least recognize that it’s just a feeling, and it rarely matches reality. The truth is, my life has been draped in riches, both tangible and intangible. I may not be wealthy in the traditional sense, but all of my needs are covered and then some. Likewise, I share a lot with the world every day. The tricky part is replacing my default mindset with these positive (and more accurate) sentiments.
This is where journaling coming in.
Sometimes before bed, I feel down about assorted “not enough” elements of my day. As part of my recovery from my unproductive thoughts, I know I need to actively recognize the things in my life that are enough (and more!).
Money guru Kate Northrup recommends noting at least three things that have made your life abundant each day as well as three ways that you’ve added value to another person’s life. This practice is designed to help you even if your feelings of lack aren’t money-specific. If the whole thing sounds corny to you, just try it for a few days. You will be amazed by how many amazing good things are in your life. And even cooler, the definition of “amazing” is up to you. Abundance comes in all shapes and sizes.
Just to show you how personal and idiosyncratic abundance journaling can be, here’s my actual entry from yesterday:
1. Wearing my favorite black boots to work. I like how they sound against the pavement and the way the zippers jingle when I walk.
2. Putting on that third coat of mascara. Felt like I was wearing falsies!
3. That cleaning “high” after my fiancé and I tackled the whole apartment in under two hours—a new record!
How I added value:
1. Talked to a few friends about how they can start a basic WordPress blog. One friend wants to blog about grammar and traveling. Another friend wants to blog about video games and costumes.
2. Made healthy vegan brownies for my fiancé and his colleagues (and me!).
3. Comforted an anxious student at the university Writing Center (where I work part-time) and helped her cite her sources in APA style.
Even typing that made me feel giddy! Just as importantly, journaling these things helped me grasp the wonderful details and moments threaded through my life in a given day—it’s almost as if journaling about them makes them more tangible and therefore more real.
Now it’s your turn. List at least three things in each category. Be specific! See how you feel!
Also see: 5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude
Photos: Mary Hood