3 Psychological Benefits of Delayed Gratification & Why We Need to Be Patient

By Krista


Last Updated: June 24, 2022

“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”Ariana Grande

In a world where you can get almost anything delivered to your door within 24 hours, we’ve likely become the most impatient human society to date.

The internet has literally made everything and anything available at your fingertips. With a click of the button, you don’t even have to go to the store to get what you want.

Instant gratification has become the name of the game. Yet, delayed gratification has tons more benefits for our life and overall well-being. When you delay gratification, you actually learn how to control your impulses better, improving your self-control and reaping even bigger rewards down the road. 

So, should you start using a little more delayed gratification? Here’s what you need to know!


Delayed Gratification vs Instant Gratification

Instant gratification is when you immediately cave to your desires, giving yourself what you want.

For instance, maybe you saw a dress online. Without a second thought, you click it and buy it. This, my friends, is instant gratification (or pretty dang close!). 

And you probably feel pretty good about it after with that rush of endorphins and dopamine. But it’s just a quick boost. Maybe later on you think you shouldn’t have bought it on impulse. You’re already over your budget. Instant gratification can quickly become problematic.

Meanwhile, delayed gratification involves resisting temptation. For example, maybe you delay buying that dress until your budget is back up to par or perhaps until you pass that big upcoming exam.

Or maybe you realize that there are bigger and better things beyond that dress that you can now work toward!


What Are Some Examples of Delayed Gratification? 

Here are a few other examples to really drive that delayed gratification meaning home:

  • Saving money for retirement
  • Treating yourself after accomplishing a big task
  • Eating healthy to achieve a higher state of health and well-being
  • Learning a new skill or taking a course to obtain a promotion



Does Delayed Gratification Make You Happier?

Technically, yes, it can. In fact, the differences between delayed gratification and instant gratification are huge when it comes to overall life satisfaction.


3 Benefits of Delayed Gratification

So, how does delayed gratification do this? What are the benefits exactly?

1. It can teach you to become more present in relationships.

Here’s the thing: Instant gratification tends to cause people to put their own needs above others. While this is great sometimes, it can have a negative impact on your relationships other times. 

With delayed gratification, you become more giving and caring. You’ll work with someone to figure out how you can both get your needs met, as opposed to just caring about your own. This fosters bonds and relationships, helping you bring your loved ones closer.

Related Article: Healthy, Harmonious Love: 7 Relationship Tools To Keep In Your Pocket


2. It can lead to better physical and mental health.

By not giving into our impulses every time in terms of not exercising or eating junk food, we can, inevitably, improve our physical health. 

On top of this, mentally, it can help you achieve goals better (and faster!) and help you experience true happiness as opposed to fleeting pleasure. This can have a profound impact on the human experience, taking it to a whole new depth. 


3. It improves overall self-control.

Delaying gratification is a test of our self-control, each and every time.

In many ways, it’s like building muscle. The more you do it, the better you get at it and the more self-control you have. So, flex that muscle!

Related Article: How to Have More Willpower



Why is Delayed Gratification So Hard?

Experts suggest that delayed gratification can feel difficult due to the uncertainty of the future. And this has never been tougher than right now. 

It’s hard to predict the future. You might think the opportunity could pass you by or it won’t come around again. Or maybe that no long-term benefit will come from it.

In some ways, delayed gratification comes down to having faith and trust in the future. You have to trust that you’re meant for bigger and better things to avoid falling prey to the instant gratification trap.

Again, it all comes down to practice! 



Try It Out… How Can Delayed Gratification Improve Your Life?

Start today. Delay gratification by just a few hours for that one thing. Maybe when a few hours hits, you won’t even remember what you were trying to avoid in the first place. Or who knows, maybe you found something even better!

When you delay gratification, a whole other world opens up to you. It means opportunity and a pathway toward finding true happiness rather than just fleeting moments of gratification.

Read Next: 9 Things That Aren’t Helping Your Mental Health

Photo by Dương Nhân


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