for your self Sep 20, 2021

Do you eat the marshmallow or wait for two? 

Have you heard of the Stanford marshmallow experiment? Perhaps you have but don’t recognize the name of the experiment.

This experiment, led by psychologist Walter Mischel, is all about delayed gratification and how early we start to learn this as humans.

Basically, young children are given the chance to have a small immediate reward (one marshmallow) or wait a bit of time and get TWO small rewards (two marshmallows).

I was talking about this study recently with my mom in comparison it to my adult life.

I’m a morning person. I always have been. But back in my weekly gig days, I was forced to become someone who stayed out late, I’m talking 2-3am late. Naturally, this took away some of my early mornings, robbing me of what is typically my favorite time of day.

As the pandemic continues to rage on, my music nights have come to a pretty drastic halt — playing only one gig since last September -- but I've found that my early mornings are still being robbed from time to time. I think this all comes down to the Stanford marshmallow experiment.

In the evening, I know that by having another drink (ahem...or two or three...) I will be less likely to wake up early and enjoy a full, relaxing and also productive morning. In many instances I have found that the instant gratification (extra drinks) wins over the delayed gratification (my happy morning).

I’ve been actively finding new ways to remind myself to slow down and see the bigger picture and here are three of the ways I’m doing it:

  1. Journaling — getting all of the chaos in my head down on paper tends to let me see my goals more clearly
  2. Daily yoga — spending 20-30 minutes a day practicing yoga has been incredibly rewarding both in tuning into my self and in nurturing my body
  3. Less alcohol — someone once told me that drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow and while this isn’t always the case, I have found this to be true plenty of times in my life

My big question for you is this: is there something that you give into quickly instead of waiting for something more satisfying? And if there is, is it similar to what I’m feeling? Do you find this applies to your dating life? To a career?

Try to make note of times that you, as an adult, are a part of your own personal Stanford marshmallow experiment. Decide how many marshmallows you want. If it’s just one, good for you. But if it’s two, find a way to get them both.

Cheers, friend!
xx, jamie


P.S. If you're anything like me, all of this talk of marshmallows may leave you with a craving. Check out my favorite vegan marshmallows here!

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