How to Slow Down Time
Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Minutes, hours, and days march on relentlessly. Years pile upon years before you know it. But our perception of time can change. A boring work meeting can seem to drag on forever, but 20 years on the same job, doing the same kinds of things week in and week out, year after year – boring meetings included -- can seem to zip by in the blink of an eye in retrospect.
So how does time work? Neuropsychologist David Eagelman studies time perception. He calls time “a rubbery thing.”
“It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,’ it shrinks up. Greater attention leads to perception of a longer period of time.
New experiences slow down time and create rich memories.”
When you were a child, you learned and did new things every day. Your mind was totally engaged, paying attention to every detail of every new experience: your first day at school, your first trip to the beach, your first kiss. Sure, the school year seemed like a lifetime, but you were learning new things every day, and besides, the endless summers of childhood were always the sweet reward.
A good way to slow down time as we get older is to remain positive and mindful. Take time every day to pause and yes, smell the roses or the freshly cut grass, close your eyes and soak up the morning sun, listen to and really get carried away in a beautiful piece of music.
And add more “firsts” back into your life. Check one new experience off your bucket list this year and commit to doing it. Take a class in salsa dancing, for instance. Take a different route to work. Mentor a teen. Book a train trip. Join a choir. Go up in a hot air balloon.
Finally, try to keep a journal every day – even a few words – of the beautiful or surprising new things in your life that make you thankful to be alive. Writing about your good experiences, small or large will keep them shining in your memory forever.