Turning off the voice inside our heads that tells us we need our next quick fix is made much more complicated by the world around us continually reinforcing that instant gratification is entirely normal. Everything is available to us at a push of a button, from the information we want at a second’s notice online to the food we can get delivered to us from almost any restaurant. Living in a world that promotes instant gratification makes it harder to exercise impulse control. However, by self-imposing delayed gratification into your lifestyle, you may become more successful in long-term recovery.
What is Delayed Gratification?
Delayed gratification is the act of resisting the impulse for pleasure or satisfaction in the present in exchange for happiness in the future. For those in addiction recovery, delayed gratification is practiced every day by resisting the impulse to use or give in to withdrawal symptoms or cravings in the moment in exchange for a successful future recovery. Practicing delayed gratification in other aspects of your life will help you build your “impulse control muscle.”
Controlling Our Impulses With Delayed Gratification
Not sure where to begin bringing delayed gratification into your life? Try implementing some of the tips below to start exercising more delayed gratification.
- Set Goals: Having clear goals in your life gives you a reason to delay gratification and make it easier. Tracking your goal progress in either a journal or spreadsheet can serve as a helpful reminder.
- Meditation: Meditation helps raise our awareness of our thoughts. By being more aware, we can notice when what we are thinking doesn’t align with our true desires and will be less inclined to follow impulses.
- Small Rewards: Refraining from instant gratification takes a lot of effort. Along the way, if you are delaying the cravings to use, give yourself healthy, little rewards for abstaining from the behavior. It can be something simple like a new pair of shoes, or it could be rewarding yourself with free time to do whatever you most enjoy.
- Make Lists: The old rule that bringing a list with you to the grocery helps you avoid making fewer impulse buys holds true. Use a list at groceries or any other shopping store to stay on task.
Putting delayed gratification over instant gratification will aid you in recovery and give you the freedom you desire from the bonds of addiction. Stay focused on the long-term goal of sober living and persevere through the chaotic roller coaster of emotions you will experience during the early days of recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health concerns, contact Avalon Malibu. Avalon is a world-renowned, licensed mental health treatment and addiction rehab center in Southern California. We provide the best support and care through our evidence-based mental health therapies and well-rounded support, so our clients can find lasting success in their recovery. For more information, contact us at (844) 857-5992.