How to slow time

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - THE ROUND-UP - DEN­NIS J HOIBERG

WHERE has this year gone? Are you feel­ing like you are on a tread­mill that seems to be speed­ing up – and the time gaps be­tween yearly events – birth­days, hol­i­days, Christ­mas, Easter and the Mel­bourne Cup are get­ting smaller? Wasn’t it only yes­ter­day we were plan­ning for 2017 Christ­mas/New Year? Wasn’t it only yes­ter­day our chil­dren were shar­ing our beds and now they are buy­ing their own houses? Time flies!

While I be­lieve we all ac­cept this progress, for some, the speed­ing of events can cre­ate a sense of fore­bod­ing, loss, des­per­a­tion, 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. “The older I get, the faster times flies by!” Sound fa­mil­iar? Why is this? Our mind per­ceives the pas­sage of time dif­fer­ently.

While time is, of course, con­stant, it can ap­pear a rub­bery thing that seems to change our level of en­gage­ment with our world.

I think the more you en­joy what you are do­ing, the more time ap­pears to pass quickly. Time in­deed flies when you are hav­ing fun!

Time can also seem to slow down as ev­i­denced in eye wit­ness state­ments ob­serv­ing crit­i­cal events – the abil­ity to re­mem­ber in de­tail the se­quence of a split sec­ond event is amaz­ing.

Ever been in a lec­ture lis­ten­ing to some weird dude out­lin­ing some com­plex and ir­rel­e­vant the­ory and the sec­ond hand on the wall clock just re­fuses to move?

One 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 about what we are do­ing, it’s just part of our rou­tine.

An­other ex­pla­na­tion is the older we get, the fewer ‘firsts’ we ex­pe­ri­ence. The first time go­ing on hol­i­days, walk­ing into a build­ing... the first event of any kind.

An­other ex­pla­na­tion may be 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 time – or at least our per­cep­tion of it?

My first tip is to ac­cept it for what it is – and that is a part of life.

My sec­ond tip is to de­lib­er­ately plan va­ri­ety into the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cal­en­dars. Do some­thing dif­fer­ent. Don’t go to the same place for hol­i­days – go to a va­ri­ety of places and seek al­ter­na­tive ex­pe­ri­ences.

Live in the present. Life is about mo­ments and me­mories – not money or pos­ses­sions. Ap­pre­ci­ate, be grate­ful and con­nect. En­joy what you have. Pay at­ten­tion to each pass­ing mo­ment to re­ally slow time.

Look for beauty – it is all around us. This emo­tional arousal in­creases our blood flow, al­low­ing us to ex­pe­ri­ence more time.

Adopt an op­ti­mist mind­set and set ac­tiv­i­ties you look for­ward to.

Spend time re­flect­ing and al­low your­self to smile and grieve about the wins and losses.

As the say­ing goes “like sands through an hour­glass, these are the days of our lives”. Live each one to the max­i­mum and en­joy!

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