Did you decide to give something up for Lent?
Whether for religious reasons or because you just felt like testing yourself, last week many of us pledged to give up something we enjoy temporarily. Psychologically, is this a good thing?
Delaying gratification – that is, exercising self-control by choosing to wait – is associated with wide-ranging physical, psychological and social benefits. A joint study carried out by Terrie Moffitt at Duke University and international colleagues followed 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to 32. Those who showed good self-control during childhood had better physical health, greater financial success and were less likely to commit criminal offences as adults.
Between 1968 and 1974, Walter Mischel at Stanford administered a delay of gratification task to more than 650 four-year-olds. The children, who took part in what’s now known as the Marshmallow Test, were offered a choice between enjoying one small marshmallow (or pretzel)…
— to www.telegraph.co.uk