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How to Expand Your Sense of Time

by Beth on October 16th, 2018

Do you feel like time is rushing by too fast? I’m guessing that’s something most of us have in common. Our hectic, over-scheduled lives leave us feeling pressed for time. Time also seems to go faster and faster as we age. Have you ever wondered why? I think the answer is fascinating!

In her TED Talk, psychologist Lila Davachi explains how our sense of time is influenced by our memories. The more memory units we have of an experience, the longer that experience seems. When we are young, much of what we do is new or exciting and we are more likely to remember these types of experiences. As we age, life becomes more routine. Our brains compress these repetitive experiences into fewer memory units, so our estimates of time shrink. Days full of routines run together.

This means you can alter your sense of time by making more memories. An experience that’s very eventful may feel like it’s passing quickly in the moment, but because it generates more memories that time will expand. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam found that people who reported feeling they had more time were more likely to have done something interesting that day. Making memories gave them the sense of having more time. Another study showed that people who experience awe feel like they have more time.

If you’d like to expand your sense of time, add some adventure to your days. By adventure I don’t mean climbing Mount Everest. Doing anything novel will give you the feeling of more time. Eat in a different restaurant, go to the theater, read a new book, learn a new skill, meet new people, park in a different lot. Or try something potentially awe inspiring, like visiting an art exhibit, spending time in nature, or watching a sports event.

Shaking up your daily routine keeps things interesting. It can also provide meaningful experiences that will make your life more memorable and time more expansive.

From → Meaning, Mindset

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