Monday, November 10, 2014

Is your sense of time speeding up?

If you’re like me, someone who always has an over full schedule, you probably feel like the days just fly by. It seems like it just turned 2014 and we’re already 90% of the way through the year. 

This sense of time speeding up appears to be a phenomenon that progresses as we age.
As a child it seemed like Christmas would never come, and the school year would never end.  

There is  a psychological explanation for why this happens. Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. says in his article in Psychology Today, “while there are a number of theories, the best explanation is that novel experiences seem to slow time perception down. Repetition of events seems to make them go faster. As a child, who has experienced few Christmases, each one brings anticipation and a certain novelty. For the parents (and especially the grandparents), it’s all too familiar – the same old, same old.”

“Here’s another example: The first time you drive to a distant locale, it seems like it takes forever (remember that first weekend getaway, or commuting trip the first day of the new job?). As you repeat the drive, over and over, the time flies by, and you can’t recall any specific trip, unless something “memorable” happens. A really long traffic jam; a fender bender; etc. Or, the first day of a two-week beach side vacation seems to go on and on, a long, and enjoyable experience (“Wow, I've got two whole weeks of this!”). But before you know it, you’re packing for home”

It appears that the familiar makes time go faster. Unique and memorable events slow time down.

So to slow down our life, to enjoy our days more, we want to slow down our sense of time. The longer we live the more we have created a comfort zone and we tend to stay within that. In her blog article, 8 Steps to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone, Kathy Sporre says “comfort zones develop slowly – almost imperceptibly. 

Soon the air in the comfort zone gets stale, the flow of life begins to stagnate, and personal growth comes to a gradual halt. In some cases, personal growth can even shift into reverse.” Kathy offers eight steps to break out of your comfort zone. In summary she suggests the following:
-        Reconnect with your spiritual side of life in whatever way you find fulfilling
-        Volunteer to help your favorite charity or cause
-        Get physical and feel stronger
-        Be a friend. Do things together and for each other
-        Open the door and go outside
-        Listen to your feelings and share them with a trusted friend or relative
-        Stretch your intellectual muscle by  learning something new
-        Let your innate creativity flow out of your calling.
She explains each of these in more detail in her article.

Breaking the routine is the key to slowing time. Plan for special activities, meet new people, host a party or other event that will bring people together. When you’re in planning mode you’re dealing with something new; you’re forcing your brain to adjust.

According to Alan Henry, author of The Science of Your “Comfort Zone,” and Why It’s So Hard to Leave It, “your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.”

“In leaving your comfort zone, the experiences you have may be mind-blowing or regrettable, but that doesn’t matter. The point is that you’re doing it, and you’re pushing yourself past the mental blocks that tell you to do nothing.”

If you want to slow down the passage of time in your life, think about what you can do differently to break out of your comfort zone. You’ll not only slow down your days, you’ll find life will become much more interesting when you try new things.

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