Have we become happiness addicts? Are we addicted to the feeling of short term pleasure, of dopamine rushes? Are we always looking for the next thing that is going to give us a sense of high?
Chasing a constant high and not being able to stay disciplined about our long-term goals might lead us to addiction and other health illnesses, such as depression. A feeling of not following through with our goals will leave us feeling incompetent and not good enough. If our goal is to be lean and feel functional in your body for example, then indulging in sweets and junk food on a daily basis is going to leave us feeling like a failure because you are not making progress.
Short term pleasure doesn't usually give us fulfillment or a sense of lasting happiness. We are constantly either working towards the person we want to be and the lifestyle we desire, or against it. Often - short term pleasure is working against the things we want the most.
What can we do to end the cycle of constantly seeking instant gratification?
1. Live mindfully - Pay attention to what you are doing and become conscious of your choices. Write down your goals every morning, visualize or meditate to stay centered in yourself and the person you want to be. This way you can be more present in each moment and choose not to sabotage your own progress.
2. Reflect on the ways in which you seek instant gratification - Take some time to reflect and write down all the ways in which you seem to be addicted to instant pleasure. Do you check your phone every 2 minutes? Do you need to get drunk every day or weekend to feel something? Do you eat sweets or junk food every time you are sad or bored? Are you constantly looking to flirt with new people even though you are in a committed relationship? Write it all down so that you can become more aware of all the ways in which you hinder your own progress. This technique will help you be more alert when you indulge in these behaviors.
3. Replace your behavior - Find an alternative. There are healthier things, or things that might even be aligned with your long term goal, that can give you instant gratification. A cardio based workout can give you a dopamine rush. So can going on a hike with your friends or brainstorming with your colleagues. Having a ''making healthy recipes'' night with your mom or best friend can also give you a high or watching soccer with the bros.
4. Find pleasure in delaying gratification - Find your happiness in working towards the person you want to be and the life you want to have. Be excited to make choices that are aligned with your long term plans and make it a habit to celebrate and notice when you stay disciplined about it.
5. Be more present - Instead of constantly seeking for something, someone or somewhere new, be happy where you are at, doing what you are doing. Stop wishing you were someone else doing something else. Our minds are wired to be seekers, never satisfied, never present. We are constantly living in the past and the future, but the only moment that really exists is NOW. Find peace and gratitude to whats happening around you and inside of you right now and count your blessings as often as you remember to.