Where has this year gone? Are you feeling like you’re on a treadmill that seems to be speeding up? Do the time gaps between annual events such as birthdays, holidays, Christmas, Easter and the Melbourne Cup get smaller and smaller? Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were planning for 2017 Christmas/New Year? Time flies!
While I believe we all accept this cycle of life, for some, the speed of events can create a sense of foreboding, loss, desperateness and even grief. “My life is racing away and there is still so much more for me to do!” is a common cry I often hear. Or, “The older I get, the faster times flies past me!”
Sound familiar? Why is this?
Our mind perceives the passage of time differently.
Time is a rubbery thing that seems to change with the degree of engagement with our world. The more you enjoy what you are doing, the more time appears to travel quickly. As they say – time flies when you’re having fun!! Time can also seem to slow down as evidenced in eye witness statements observing critical events – the ability to remember the sequence of a split-second event to great detail demonstrates how time can indeed appear to slow down.
Ever been in a lecture listening to some weird dude outlining some complex and irrelevant theory and the second hand on that wall clock just refuses to move?
An explanation for time moving quickly is the “Habituation Hypothesis,” where we just follow a habit or routine as if we are hypnotised – we don’t even think what we are doing.
Another theory is that we experience less “firsts” the older we get. The first time going on holidays, the first time going into a building…first events are so fresh, different and memorable.
The fleeting sense of time could also be attributed to the fact that as we age, there are natural changes in heart rate, metabolism and body temperature and our brains produce less dopamine which plays an important role in controlling our internal clock.
So how do we slow down time – or at least our perception of it?
- Accept it for what it is – time passing is a part of life.
- Deliberately plan variety into your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendar. Do something different. Continually choose new places for your holidays, dine at different restaurants, go to different movie theatres. Just seek alternative experiences.
- Live in the present. Life is about moments and memories – not money or possessions. Connect, appreciate, and enjoy what you have! Pay attention to each passing moment to really slow down time.
- Look for beauty in everything – it is all around us. This emotional arousal increases our blood flow allowing us to experience more time.
- Adopt an optimistic mindset and set activities that you look forward to.
- Spend time reflecting and allow yourself to smile at your wins and grieve your losses.
As the famous saying goes “like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.” So, live each day to the max and savour each and every moment.