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Nicole Abendroth

The Abundance Effect

Can a subtle mindset shift change how you view the world — and bring more joy into your life?

What comes to mind when you think about fall? Maybe it's the contrast between warm sunshine and crisp breezes. Or foliage that transforms into a light show of gold, orange, and red. Or the harvests of crops that'll feed us throughout the winter. Nature offers us this bounty each year, not minding who enjoys it or who'll benefit from the gifts. And it gives it all away freely, knowing there will be more to share next year.

Now imagine applying those concepts to your everyday thinking. That's the essence of an abundance mindset.

What's an abundance mindset?

In simple terms, it's a worldview that opens you up to the potential in life. You acknowledge your faults, but you also focus on the best in yourself, your situation, and every person around you. It's also based on the belief you can change and grow, no matter what your age.

How powerful is it? Researchers at Yale and the University of Miami conducted a study on adults' perceptions of aging. Participants who viewed aging as a process full of growth, opportunity, and abundance lived, on average, 7.5 years longer than those with a more pessimistic outlook.

In other words, the way you see the world can have a powerful impact on your everyday life — and on your lifespan. So let's look at four ways to build and nurture abundance.

  1. Embrace change
    Change isn't always easy. But your perspective can make all the difference. Will a new acquaintance become a friend? Will a detour send you on a more scenic drive? Will a sold-out item prompt you to try something new? When you view change as possibility, it loses some of its power to upset you.
  2. Practice gratitude — even in tough times
    A University of California-Davis study found that expressing gratitude improves health and well-being. It also helps you focus on what you have and what you can do, rather than on what you can't do or what you lack — in other words, the cornerstones of abundance.
    How can you practice gratitude? Call or email a friend or family member to thank them for a lesson they taught you. Jot down something you're grateful for every day. Share something you're thankful for over dinner.
  3. Believe growth is possible
    One Harvard University research project studied college students, comparing those who believed intelligence could be developed against those who saw it as predetermined. The key finding: Students who perceived intelligence with a growth — or abundance-based — mindset had an easier time overcoming academic challenges.
  4. Don't ignore the bad
    Embracing abundance isn't the same as false positivity. All lives are full of losses and disappointments. Again, it's all about mindset. An abundant, growth-focused approach can help you see how you've overcome past challenges — and help you deal with the obstacles that'll come your way in the days and years ahead.

Nicole Abendroth is the Assistant Editor of Be.Well by Medica.