The Psychology of Instant Gratification and How to Deal With It

Instant gratification

Instant gratification is a term that suggests the lure, and resulting tendency, to abstain from the future advantage in order to attain a less rewarding but more instant benefit. When you have a need for something pleasurable be it an appetite or fun.

Instant gratification is the contrary of what we have been told and strives too hard to practice. That is delayed gratification. Delaying is difficult when there is a natural urge to get what you want when you want it, which could not be resisted or delayed.

The opposite side of instant gratification is delayed gratification or the ways to put off fulfilling your preference in order to achieve an even better result or benefit in the future.

Instant Gratification Theory in Psychology

At the heart of instant gratification is one of the most basic drives inherent in humans—the tendency to see pleasure and avoid pain. This tendency is known as the pleasure principle.

The pleasure principle is basically the driving force that compels human beings to gratify their needs, wants, and urges. These needs want, and urges can be as basic as the need to breathe, eat or drink. But they can be as complex as the “need” for an iPhone 6 or some other cool new product.

When we don’t get fulfillment, our psychological response is anxiety or tension.

How to Deal With an Instant Gratification?

Declining to instant gratification is not an easy effort. If it could have become, we would all be flourished, successful, and have an adequate amount of money in our bank account.

However, there are some things you can do to achieve better in order to avoid your instant gratification, that includes:

  • Empathize with your future self

Before getting a conclusion between instant and delayed gratification, take little time to think about your future mental state, for instance, if you opt for instant gratification, what impact will it make in your future? Will you be happy if you made this decision the way you did, or will you hope you had opted for delayed gratification?

  • Pre-commitment

One of the best strategies to preserve yourself from the allure of instant gratification is to make some decisions beforehand. If you can set some of your most valuable decisions in stone now, you will be less inclined to shift your mind or go through the annoyance of backtracking and undoing your preparations when you reach face to face in your decision.

  • Break down big goals into lesser and easy chunks

Big goals can be relaxation and can become motivation, but they can also appear as overwhelming or far off. When you must determine instant, easy gratification and delaying gratification in the attempt to fulfill a bi and long term goal, it is challenging to stay to your long-term goal. Breaking these big goals into small pieces with incentives after every step takes makes you more determined and more inclined to make the best decisions.

How to control impulses for instant gratification?

Some procedures that might help you improve your ability to control impulses for instant gratification include:

  • Give definitive time-frames

In a circumstance where people are not certain when they will get an expected outcome, giving feedback on just how long they will have to wait can be useful. For instance, while teachers might give students a deadline for when students will get a guaranteed reward.

  • Set realistic deadlines

When aiming to accomplish a goal, such as losing weight, people are sometimes apt to setting either impossible deadlines or standards. For instance, a person attempting to lose weight will set himself up for disappointment if he sets a completely unrealistic goal of losing 10 pounds per week. When he is unable to lose those first 10 pounds, he might give up and give in to temptation. A more practical goal of one pound per week would enable him to witness the real results of his hard work.


It is not always necessary to say no to things that make you feel content. Giving yourself a break from hard work once in a while is vital, as it will become a treat of your hard work. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and it will help you in your work as well. If you have any suggestions feel free to share with us.