Mental Health/Wellness

Delayed Gratification

We live in an instant society with the expectation of virtually everything at our fingertips.  The trouble is that the investment of time to get a desired result used to teach us patience, self control and appreciation for craftsmanship, which I tend to see less in clients that I see.

A well-known study was put out by Stanford University in 1977 that became known as the Marshmallow Study. Six hundred four year olds were asked to sit with a marshmallow abstaining from eating it for 3 minutes while left in a room by themselves.

If the child was able to do this, they were told that they would receive two marshmallows. Thirty percent of the children restrained themselves from eating the marshmallow for the three minutes. The remarkable part of this study is the findings that were drawn 40 years later. Researchers continued to study the children involved.  Common themes among the 30 percent of children who were able to with stain were higher SAT scores, lower rates of substance abuse, lower obesity levels, better responses to stress and better social skills. It would indeed be interesting to see how children of today would fair in that same study.

The benefits of delayed gratification contribute to many areas of life such as health, mental and emotional wellness and security. Children and adults who do practice delayed gratification develop a strong sense of identity. This strong sense of identity supports healthy decision-making, resistance to peer pressure and elevated self esteem. Delayed gratification fosters a sense of empowerment, that one is in control of their decision making. The concept of investment in either time or resources into a goal or an idea creates for happiness over a life time. Individuals who practice delayed gratification experience less financial stress and retire at an earlier age. Additionally, they experience greater amounts of discretionary income and time.

In the coming week set goals for yourself that allow you to practice delayed gratification. Focus your strength on making the decision you have set out to make, avoid convenience, appreciate the process…wait……and then appreciate.

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About the author

Family Resources of Greater NE, PC

Family Resources of Greater NE, PC is an outpatient counseling practice serving Central Nebraska with offices in Grand Island, Kearney,

Broken Bow and York. Founded in 1991 by Seanne Larson Emerton, Marriage and Family Therapist,

Family Resources provides evidence based practices to help you enjoy live and move forward. We are

your relationship specialists offering a wide variety of specialty services. Check us out at www.family-resources.net .