Thinking of Choices Can Improve Patience

Many worry that today’s fast-paced world rewards or at least encourages instant gratification. To that end, a new study may provide some reassurance that individuals can learn to exercise patience by framing potential choices as a sequence of events. Investigators explain that when faced with a tempting choice, it can be hard to stop and think through the potential consequences. “People often have difficulty forgoing immediate temptations, like hitting the snooze button on the alarm, for the sake of later benefits. One possible reason is that people tend to consider the immediate consequences of a particular action, like getting a few more minutes of sleep, more than the later ones, like not having time for breakfast,” said Dr. Adrianna Jenkins at the University of California, Berkeley. “Past work has shown that a subtle change in how choices are framed can increase people’s patience. We found evidence that this change affects patience by increasing imagination and its role in decision-making,” she adds. A considerable amount of research has shown that people who are able to forego immediate temptations in lieu of future rewards experience all sorts of benefits later on, including greater physical, psychological, and financial well-being. Excerpt from Psych Central, read the full article here.

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