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Live Your Way To Happiness With Delayed Gratification

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how to be happy
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Human beings are hardwired to want things, and we tend to have the urge to want them right away. Instant gratification is a habit where we forgo long term goals for short term activities. It’s the habit where we indulge in immediate pleasures that ultimately result in long term pain. 

Instant Gratification and sudden impulses cause us to find reasons and excuses not to do something because of the pain it creates at that moment, even though we know we should be doing something else that helps us attain our long term objectives.

Instant Gratification

Instant gratification is a form of procrastination. We self-sabotage ourselves to feel good immediately where we get caught up indulging in temptations at a high cost. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in the long run. We must give something to get something back.

When it comes to decision making, there are two paths we can choose. We can avoid pain at that moment, or we can delay pleasure for a bigger goal.

We want to lose weight. It doesn’t come off quick enough, so we give up.

We want to save money but need to eat. So we pay the delivery fee to get food immediately.

We want to wake up early and start the day. So we hit snooze and sleep in.

We want to eat healthily. We create excuses for ourselves and eat high-calorie foods that don’t contribute to our health.

Our cultural norms often allow us to seek temporary comfort. A lot of the time, we don’t see value in having patience during vulnerable or uncomfortable times. We often make our choices according to how we can avoid pain in that exact moment and, in doing so, we fail to see that delayed gratification is where solutions to our problems lie.

The difference in rewards from delayed gratification is significant in creating a happier life. Delaying gratification can have positive effects on ourselves. It can create academic success, physical health, social competence, and better psychological health. The struggle to recognise and act on delayed gratification can lie in the efforts to overcome the instinctive libidinal drive of what’s known as, ‘the id’.

We want to lose weight. We become patient, we enjoy the process and the weight starts to come off.

We want to save money but need to eat. We drive to the grocery store and spend very little.

We want to wake up early and start the day. We go to sleep earlier. 

We want to eat healthily. We go to the grocery store and buy fresh, healthy foods for the week.

“In a world where people are hungry for quick fixes and for instant gratification, there’s no patience for the long, slow rebuilding process.” – Dan Hill

Pleasure Principle

Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud believed that the human personality consisted of three components: The id, the ego, and the superego. Freud coined the term ‘Pleasure Principle,’ which is used to characterise the tendency of people to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It’s argued that people tend to go to great lengths to avoid momentary pain, especially in times of vulnerability and weakness.

In psychoanalytic theory, the id is responsible for our unconscious mind, which refers to a part of our mind that is responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and memories of which we are not consciously aware of. The pleasure principle is driven by our id. According to Freud, the id is the most evident in early childhood and infancy, whereas the ego and superego develop later on.

Think about children in their earlier life and how they seek instant gratification. A child wants food, but when told ‘no,’ the child cries. A child wants to stay up late, and isn’t allowed; so the child throws a tantrum. As a child gets older, they become more realistic about their desires and must tolerate pain to delay gratification, which is because of the constraints on life.

Unlike young children, adults are characterised by their ability to delay gratification and tolerate hard work, discipline, and vulnerability to fulfill their responsibilities and achieve their goals. Delaying gratification brings a whole range of benefits in terms of our happiness and what we’re able to achieve in life.

Delayed Gratification

We are in a world full of distractions where we are constantly plugged into social media or the internet. Our connectedness with the internet brings information, communication, and entertainment to us in real-time and brings a gratification that we are so used to. By learning how to manage our needs in the moment of decision, we can thrive more in our careers, health, and relationships.

It’s not the easiest skill to acquire and takes practice. Simply because it involves a process of being uncomfortable. Choosing to have something now might feel good, but making the effort to have discipline and impulse control will improve our results over time, ultimately helping us reach our goals faster.

“We are talking about an attitude. Be able to give up something now to get something later.” – Joe Hill

4 Strategies To Delay Gratification:

  1. Know Your Values – Understand what’s important to you. By doing this, you will find it easier to set useful goals. Choices are made a lot easier and indecision isn’t as prevalent. It leads to happiness and success.
  2. Set Goals – Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve helps keep your focus on the long term and resisting temptations becomes a lot easier than if no goals were set at all.
  3. Plan – When you know what you love, you set goals to generate that fulfilment and love for yourself. Creating a plan to help you get there only enhances delaying gratification and helps resist temptations.
  4. Reward Yourself – Delaying gratification can take weeks, months and years. When you’ve understood what you want, set goals, and mapped out a plan, it’s important to reward yourself. Breaking down those goals and rewarding yourself along the way reminds you that you’re on the right track of where you want to get to.

We don’t always need to say ‘no’ to the things that make us feel good instantly. Having healthy breaks is important. The breaks we take should be dependent on how much time and energy are consumed delaying our gratification. By saying ‘no’ all the time, it means we often aren’t rewarding ourselves.

According to Aristotle, true happiness is about developing habits and surrounding yourself with people that grow your soul. This is how our greatest potential can be reached.

Do you struggle with instant gratification? If so, share with us below how you’ve found ways to overcome the need for wanting things now!

Blake is a writer, reader, sports lover and creator of blakedevos.com. He shares his thoughts through writing on Productivity, Healthy Habits, Athlete Inspiration and Health + Fitness. When he's not writing and reading,  he is boxing or socialising. You can take part in his Habit and Productivity Challenge here.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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