Have you ever noticed that as you age, each passing year or month seems shorter and shorter than the past. Most of us are muddled when Christmas displays in stores go up, and we still write 2013 on our checks after the 2014 New Year! Every clock follows a sixty minute by twelve hour uniformity; however, it has been proven through studies, that when we age we don’t experience time the same as we once did. Many theories and explanations have been found and given for why as we grow older, it feels as though time goes by quicker.
As we age, psychologists think our awareness of time starts to quicken, rather than time actually getting faster. Biological transformations within the body as it ages such as decreased dopamine production contribute to the inner clock. To add to this, some studies show that as people age, they begin to experience less emotional and exciting events. Some examples of these experiences are: a first kiss, going to camp for the first time, and the first broken heart. These events and experiences that humans encounter are easier to recount and are often given larger time approximations.
The intense emotional experiences we encounter on a daily basis is called “Habituation Hypothesis”. This term means that you often find yourself in autopilot- going through your day doing the same things (ie. getting dressed, going to work, cooking, etc.), and your thoughts are somewhere else. The longer you live somewhere or work somewhere, less and less experiences feel genuinely fresh or new.
It is natural for us to attempt to save energy whenever we can. So, when life becomes habitual and average, our minds shift into autopilot and we travel somewhere else in our minds. The more routine something is or the more you practice something; then, more easily efficient things become to allow your mind to be free to concentrate on more urgent and stressful problems. Sadly, most of us use this mental freedom to worry, over analyze, and doubt decisions. All these things can become stressful and weigh on our overall perspective of life and time. Thus, no matter how you distribute your mental thoughts, by using your mind in these ways, we begin to shorten time, and in the end it seems to accelerate our lives.
“Forward Telescoping”, is a term psychologists coined to explain how we regard past experiences and how it affects our lives. Often, we feel the need to remain attached to vital past events like a child’s birth or a death in the family- to the point where we feel like it just happened, when in reality it was many years ago. Then, when you grasp the reality that a decade had passed by since you were married; it feels like only a few years and it can be quite alarming.
Paul Janet’s “Proportional Theory” can also explain our accelerated view of time as it says that when we age, every moment of time is a minimum fraction of our whole life. This affects how we experience every minute of our lives. William James, the American philosopher, even stated, “ The Apparent length of an interval at a given epoch of a man’s life is proportional to the total length of the life itself. A child of ten feels a year as 1/10 of his whole life- a man of fifty as 1/50, the whole life meanwhile apparently preserving a constant length.”
Some solutions to all these reasons we experience life quicker as we age are: find loveliness in everything. The more things we experience in which we are inspired by or excited for, help us to enjoy the moment and expand the interval of time. Also, to relax, and relish the current moment. Instead of planning your future, over thinking, and second guessing life, take time to free your mind to enjoy and truly value the moment and experience the present.
Another tip is to limit doing multiple things at once. Although many of us live hectic lives that often require multitasking, it consumes your mental abilities to have more energy and to create new experiences and memories. In the end, you will become less constructive and feel more and more as though your days and hours are slipping away.
Search for new experiences. Again, make sure to seek out experiences that contribute to emotional experiences to avoid the “loosing” perception of time. Fresh experiences allow us to be challenged, emotionally engaged, and force us to concentrate on the present moment. Sometimes it requires a change in a normal routine and a challenge to do something you’ve never done before. Ron Friedman, Ph. D says, “ Studies show that people who feel “time-rich” tend to be happier and more fulfilled than those of us who constantly feel rushed. They experience fewer headaches and upset stomachs, and regularly get better quality sleep.”.
Source: Waking Times
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