Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | April 20, 2016

Spiritual living 101: I want it now! – how instant gratification affects your happiness

Alexandria was about to scream! What was taking so long? She chose this line because the person in front of her only had a few items. Finally, the elderly gentleman finished his transaction and it was her turn. She inserted her ATM card into the machine and stared at it for several seconds as lights blinked. When “approved “popped up the cashier remarked about how slow the ATM was today. Alexandria shook her head in agreement.

Grabbing her groceries, she raced out to the parking lot and jumped into her car. Several people were in the cross walk to the store and she let out a big sigh. She would have to wait for them. Finally getting out of the parking lot she sped down the streets catching every single red light. She was never going to get home in time!

She pulled into the driveway with only minutes to spare. Entering the kitchen, she threw her purse down, hung up the car keys, and pulled out the frozen dinner. While the microwave buzzed and chimed she put away the rest of the groceries and set the table. Then she stood in front of the microwave drumming her fingers in exasperation; wondering why it took so long to finish cooking the dinner.

When the bell indicating that her meal was ready rang Alexandria glanced up at the kitchen clock and smiled. She wanted dinner on the table at 6:00 p.m. and she did it. Exhaling deeply and wiping the sweat from her brow, she called her family to dinner. She was happy that she managed to get what she wanted in spite of all of the “waiting”.

Unfortunately she was too wound up to truly enjoy the food before her.

So was her emotion true happiness? Was getting dinner on the table right at six important enough to go through the stress she went through? Or did she just want what she wanted now; going to battle to get it at all costs. How much waiting did she actually go through?

What would have happened if she had daydreamed while she waited in line and chatted with the cashier while her transaction went through; smiled at the people in the cross walk and took the prettier, but slightly longer route home? What if she had called her daughter into the kitchen to help put the groceries away and asked her about her day as she prepared dinner?

Would dinner have been served promptly at 6:00? Probably not, but Alexandria might have been relaxed enough to enjoy her meal. She may have experienced a real sense of happiness instead of relief for “beating the clock” to have what she wanted now.

We have become a society known for instant gratification; and the negative effects of never having to wait are starting to pile up. Our greatly improved technology makes it easier than ever to get what we want when we want it. So how come we are still not happy? People are highly stressed, tempers flare, and our health does not match our wealth. Ever watching, ever modeling; our kids learn early on to seek instant gratification.

Just for today: Try not to live by the desire to have what you want right now. Have patience when you wait, and use the time to breathe and relax and connect with others. Be willing to take the time to produce results you can truly enjoy. See for yourself how taking your focus off of instant gratification and putting it on the moment before you, as well as your ultimate life goals, affects your stress level, your dis-ease, your ability to be content, your spirit, and your happiness.

You might be surprised at how much better you feel.

 

gratification

Ask yourself what is ultimately best for you.

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