Slowing Down in the Age of Instant Gratification
You might have held your breath in a little as you read the title of this weeks blog. "Slowing down in the age of instant gratification." Whew. Isn't this a topic that we like to shove under the rug and forget about? I know I do all the time.
For me, I look for instant gratification in trying to understand my future. I am always looking ahead to what's to come. Where will I move after Charlotte? What does my future look like? When is my next vacation? When I find some sort of resolution to those answers, I find peace and contentment.... for a short period of time. Then, I am off trying to plan and figure out my future some more. It's a never ending cycle really.
The Yearning for More
When I was younger, my dad used to always get onto me when we were on vacation because I would always ask him "what are we doing after this?" He thought I was bored and ungrateful. For the longest time, I never quite understood why he would get upset. It wasn't until my adulthood where I could see fully why it's not about the "what's next" but taking time to slow down in the present moment. As a kid, I needed the instant gratification of knowing what the future held to feel in control when I should have been just enjoying the time I was having with my family instead of worrying about it!
I know we all have a similar story to the one I just told. You may find instant gratification in purchasing your next pair of shoes. Or, you may find it in getting likes on Instagram. Either way, you are seeking out quick happiness. Before going into the actionable steps you can slow down and break the cycle of instant gratification, let's talk about what exactly instant gratification is.
What is Instant Gratification?
Instant gratification is the need for happiness or fulfillment without any delays. We do this because we hate uncertainty and missing out in life. It seems like as a society our new motto in life is "we want what we want when we want it."
One song that I like by the Federal Empire called "American Dream" says it best:
"I want what I want, not what I need
Even if it kills me I'll be free
I want what I want, not what I need
The American dream"
Why do we always strive and long for more? Why are we always seeking instant gratification in life? As human we hate discontentment, but it's not too late to stop the gratification cycle.
Here is how you can take back control of your life by slowing down.
How You Can Slow Down and Live a More Meaningful Life
Rework Your Morning Routine
My morning routine looks probably like a lot of yours does.
Alarm goes off.
I snooze it 3 times.
When I finally wake up, I choose to scroll through social media for the 35 min. to realize "Crap! I'm not even ready for the day!"
I rush out of the door as quick as I can.
Social media can bog down your morning and sometimes make you *eek* late to work. Instead of seeking out instant gratification from your phone right when you wake up, try getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off and tuck away your phone until you are completely ready for the day.
Don't let your phone waste away your valuable morning time and send you into a scrolling frenzy. Mornings are meant to be slow and savored. The birds are chirping, brewed coffee in the morning smells marvelous, and having time to get ready is the best kind of self-care out there.
Look at new ways on how you can rework your morning so you can make the most of it. You can do this by reading, spending time on the porch, or cooking breakfast.
Be Aware of How You Spend Your Time
Self-awareness is huge when you are trying to make life changes. How you spend your time in the small moments make up your life as a whole. Here are some things that are instantly gratifying but can be dangerous to your life as a whole:
After understanding where you find instant gratification in the day to day, you can better control your habits and actively take steps towards a life of contentment. Instead of letting these things dictate your happiness and ability to connect, take time to just be. To just be without all of those things. Here are some ways you can counteract instant gratification and slow and slow down:
Grab coffee with a friend you haven't talked to in a while and really listen. Connect. Got deep. Don't just think about what you want to say next or rush through the conversation.
Spend time reading other people's words. Whether it's reading a book or blog, you will have to slow down enough to really soak in someone else's perspective. You can learn a lot of wisdom from others experience. Never underestimate the power of someone else's stories or what they've written. (Sorry. Reading someone's 15 sec. tik tok video doesn't count.)
Spend time with God. When we come back to our Source, we are able to think outside of ourselves and slow down enough to think more clearly.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone?
Getting outside your comfort zone is another way to slow down and eliminate your need for gratification. What do I mean by this? You remember opposite day? Let's pretend it's opposite day. You want to do one thing for instant satisfaction, but you are going to do the exact opposite of that thing.
For instance, if you hate having to wait at a store, strategically go to a store that has regular long lines and wait. Do you feel like you can't stop your social media habits? Vow to yourself that you will get off social media for the day. Do you have an addiction to shopping on Amazon? Don't buy anything from Amazon for a week. I know this tip seems weird, but sometimes doing the exact opposite of what you usually find gratifying will break the habits you have instilled in your life that need to be changed.
You are Worth More: Long-term Joy and Happiness is for You
You are worth more. You deserve long-term joy and happiness. You really do. You don't need the exterior things to make you happy. You have everything you need, and you are loved as the person you are.
By making those small little changes in your routine, you an begin to crack through the cement of instate gratification to live a life more aligned with who you are. So, slow down and enjoy life for while. The life you've been searching for has been here all along.