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Needs that are ignored or unable to be met due to lack of resources don’t go away- instead, they often become all-consuming until there’s no space for us to focus on tasks, plan, organize, parent, or take good care of ourselves.

Whether self-imposed (like dieting or working your way into vocational burnout) or external (like housing instability, job loss, or not getting core emotional needs met), scarcity changes how we think and make decisions. Interestingly, researchers note that brains in scarcity-mode often make need-based decisions that backfire because these brains aren’t able to value long term outcomes over immediate relief.

To learn more about scarcity and the brain, check out NPR’s  @hiddenbrain podcast.

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