Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

Instant Gratification: the drug we can’t get enough of

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCT chapter.

Today’s world is all about instant gratification, with anything and everything being, quite literally, at the tip of our fingertips. A few taps on our phone can bring us a meal, some meaningless sex or a month’s groceries in a matter of minutes. Quite frankly, we’re addicted to getting what we want, as soon as we want it. Patience has become a relic of the past. There’s no time and effort given to our daily tasks when everything from your freezer meal to your entertainment are instant. Simply pop something in the microwave, scroll through TikTok and you’re satisfied. Or so you think.

Getting things done as quickly as we can doesn’t seem like a problem at first, but it affects us more than we realise. The hormones that make us happy and fulfilled are found through exercise, hugs, playing with pets, fresh air, reaching a goal and so on. But more commonly we’re finding artificial substitutes in Instagram posts, Tinder matches, takeaway foods and drunken nights. These are quick doses that spike and then drop our happy hormones, leaving us no better off than before, and craving another hit.

This instant gratification isn’t just affecting our moods. The same is happening with our love lives. Time and effort are no longer prioritised as people would rather look for easy situations where minimum effort is required. We’re surprised when people are actually reliable and don’t ghost us, because that’s become the norm. We’ve completely lost perception of the bigger picture. Why are we settling for one word replies, late night booty calls and drunken hookups? What happened to respecting ourselves and others. What happened to sticking to plans, going on real dates and not settling for the first person who shows us the smallest sliver of affection. The instant gratification that we’ve become so dependent on has destroyed our need to make a concerted effort in life and be prepared to fail along the way. We don’t have the patience to get to know someone and actually invest in a relationship for because it’s much easier to just randomly hookup with someone, getting that short term satisfaction. But at the end of the day, we feel like something’s missing. True fulfilment in life comes not from chasing these never-ending highs, but from slowing down, putting in the work and reaping the long-term rewards. Instead of choosing the easy way out, be it in relationships, entertainment, work or health, we need to think long term. It might mean that your decisions aren’t always the easiest, but the end goal is worth it. So, save that money instead of splurging on things you don’t need, cook that nutritious meal instead of eating out, read that book instead of watching Netflix. All these things are investments in yourself, and they’ll only make you happier in the long run.

A 22-year-old girl just trying to find her place in the world.