When You Can’t Stop Shopping

At any given moment you can find about 15 different online stores in my browser history with countless items that I’ve left in the virtual shopping bag. Online shopping, it’s for me. But as much as I love to browse, I have to be careful not to overdo it. Not for sake of my bank account, (don’t worry I’m not buying it all,) but because of lack mentality.

Lack mentality happens when your focus is on external satisfaction. It usually happens when you are feeling insecure and doubtful, and can be linked to not enough time for reflection or self care. It can happen easily and when scrolling through social media, it can happen daily.

With lack mentality you probably are having a hard time processing your core desires and so you are linking them to external sources that give superficial fulfillment.

Ideally, you figure out why you’re externally focused by writing in a journal, talking to a professional, or meditating. That’s ideally.

Realistically, that’s not going to happen every time you experience lack mentality. Even the most well-processed people will still experience lack mentality. (Just in case you were actually wondering, when I say “well-processed” I’m not referring to people who have been packaged and placed on the inner aisle of the grocery store. Quite obviously. I mean the people who have done the inner work and have gone through a healing process.)

As well-processed as you might be, feelings of lack are still likely to come up frequently. In those moments try to be honest with yourself. Recognize the feeling, honor it, and then just like we talked about in this week’s mantra, move forward along side of it. Rest easy knowing that you don’t have to totally dissect your life just because you live in an external world and envy is easy to come by.

When It Comes To Shopping

So, you’re well-processed but the lack mentality still comes up. You always seem to want more despite feeling grateful for what you do have. Here are a few things to think about:

  •  What are you avoiding? A task? Your passion project? A question you don’t want to answer? Even just asking yourself this question can lead you to more mindful browsing.
  • Part of lack mentality and mindless browsing is the type of world we live in. We are continuously fed content that convinces us we are in need of something. When you feel lack mentality coming on strong be mindful of the content you are consuming. This goes beyond social media. Even magazines and blogs are showcasing items that could be next on your “I want” list. Try to be creative instead—experiment in the kitchen, get the knitting needles out, just let your mind wander without the scrolling.
  • What’s underneath the need to buy? Without going too deep, the mindful person can usually pinpoint 1-2 things that is driving their feelings of lack. Instead of giving into the feeling, make the intention to notice it and work through it over time by first just acknowledging that it’s there.


Lack mentality when it comes to shopping is fairly easy to get over. When it’s tied to deeper issues of insecurity and self doubt—that’s when the deeper work is helpful. That’s when you can look at the insecurities that are leading you to find worth outside of yourself. That’s when you can do the work to build trust in yourself and trust in the unknown. That’s when you journal, you talk to someone, you meditate. That’s when you can move toward real healing.

If online shopping is a relaxing thing that makes you feel good, by all means do it. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be about picking apart every single habit and finding something wrong with it. But it is a tool that can be helpful in determining whether or not your habits are holding you back from growing and learning.

Happy (not) shopping!