Easy methods to Sluggish Down Time
Written by: Denise John, PhD
Revealed on: August 4, 2022
Photograph courtesy of Brian Chorski
Why do some summer time months fly by, whereas February all the time appears to tug alongside on the most brutal tempo? Why do our reminiscences of sure weeks really feel longer than others? Why do one of the best holidays make time really feel prefer it’s measured otherwise than the time we expertise again house?
Cognitive neuroscientist Martin Wiener, PhD, who research how our brains understand time and area, explains that whereas we expertise time as a continuum—one thing linear, with a starting, center, and finish—we don’t all the time expertise time on the identical fee. Relying on what we’re targeted on or the bodily area we’re in or the familiarity of the expertise, it feels sped up in some moments and slowed down in others.
Listed below are the important thing takeaways from our dialog with Wiener, wherein we requested him to interrupt down essentially the most elementary (and stunning) methods our brains distort time.
1. Specializing in time slows it down. In case you’ve ever been caught in site visitors, had a flight delay, and even dared to look at a pot of water boil, you’ve skilled the sensation of time dragging. Analysis means that the more you focus on time, the slower it seems to pass, which is often the case once we’re bored or doing one thing we’d relatively not be doing.
2. Distracting your self from time speeds it up. “The extra you’re distracted from time, the quicker it appears to go by since you’re not targeted on how a lot time goes by,” Wiener says.
3. Recollections distort time. Whenever you’re wanting again in time, you understand time otherwise. “Whenever you recall a reminiscence when numerous issues occurred, though it might have felt prefer it glided by shortly, whenever you look again on it, you are feeling prefer it lasted longer than you initially skilled it,” Wiener says. It’s like that trip that flew by, however whenever you keep in mind it, it appears to have lasted longer, virtually as if the reminiscence expands.
The alternative is true on the subject of reminiscences of instances when nothing a lot occurred, like ready in site visitors or on a aircraft. Whenever you look again on these experiences, you’ll in all probability really feel like they had been comparatively brief.
4. Dopamine could have an effect on time. Scientists don’t actually perceive how the mind processes time but, however emerging research shows that dopamine, the neurotransmitter that’s stimulated once we really feel pleasure and reward, could play a job. “Something that will increase dopamine tends to hurry up our sense of time,” Wiener says. “Whereas issues that scale back dopamine decelerate our sense of time.”
5. Space affects how we perceive time. “The larger the area, the slower time appears to cross,” says Wiener. This is applicable to the area you’re in or the area (or distance) you journey. Have you ever ever been tempted to take again roads to work as a result of your route has site visitors, though the GPS says the route with site visitors will get you there the quickest? The shortage of motion in area (and the give attention to time) makes the time in site visitors really feel prefer it’s shifting slower. By taking the longer route, you’ll be able to really feel that much less time has handed than it might should you’d taken a shorter route with site visitors. Equally, how we move our bodies in area additionally modifications our notion of time—time can really feel prefer it’s shifting quicker should you’re dancing or going for a run in comparison with sitting nonetheless.
6. Familiarity expands area and contracts time. The more familiar you are with something, like a path to work or the stroll to your favourite café, the shorter period of time it appears to take to get there, however the longer the space it appears to take.
“The primary time you are taking a route, it would look like it takes a very long time however that it wasn’t that far-off, by way of distance,” Wiener says. “After you repeatedly take this route and change into extra conversant in it, ultimately the period of time it takes will appear to be much less, however the distance to get there’ll appear longer.” You may take into consideration that in your subsequent espresso run.
Researchers are nonetheless uncovering how time is processed within the mind—what mind areas are activated, what mechanisms are required, which neurotransmitters and hormones are concerned, and extra. However our notion of time is simply that: our notion. Taking part in round with a few of these time-shifting concepts could assist you to discover methods to hurry up time within the dullest moments—and sluggish it down whenever you need a second to final.
This text is for informational functions solely, even when and no matter whether or not it options the recommendation of physicians and medical practitioners. This text shouldn’t be, neither is it meant to be, an alternative to skilled medical recommendation, prognosis, or remedy and may by no means be relied upon for particular medical recommendation. The views expressed on this article are the views of the knowledgeable and don’t essentially characterize the views of goop.