Table of contents:
- More and more often people ask themselves over the years: why does time go fast? Why did the day seem so long in childhood, and now we may not notice how the week has passed? Is this really a change in the speed of the passage of time? Of course not. The acceleration of time is just an illusion. It's all about perception
- What determines the speed of the passage of time
Video: Why Is Time Running Fast? - Self-development
More and more often people ask themselves over the years: why does time go fast? Why did the day seem so long in childhood, and now we may not notice how the week has passed? Is this really a change in the speed of the passage of time? Of course not. The acceleration of time is just an illusion. It's all about perception
What determines the speed of the passage of time
The change in the passage of time in our perception depends on various factors:
- emotional saturation of an episode or even a period,
- perspective or retrospective perception (living the moment in the present time and in memories).
Let's look at everything in order.
As we get older, the same segments in the context of years past, proportionally decrease. That is, in 10 years, your last 10 years are your whole life. In your 20 years - half your life. At 40 years old - only a quarter. And at 60 - and even one-sixth. That is why a year in the perception of a child is "the whole year", but in the perception of an elderly person it is "just" a year.
Living and remembering
Another curious phenomenon in the context of the perception of the speed of the passage of time is memories. They turn the feeling of time inside out: what has been inconceivably long dragged on in real life (out of boredom, for example, like some boring scientific conference imposed by the leadership) is simply erased in memories - it will flash in a second, you won't even notice. And those moments that were filled with events and emotions in the past (and seemed to fly by too quickly, and we really want to beg the moment to stop, since it’s so beautiful) stretch out and last in our memory.
Retrospective perception allows us to experience this "slow motion" magic. The brain is trying to “remember” the best periods of life in all details (even if it unconsciously begins to invent these details due to its structure), which forces us to spend a lot of effort and time, and therefore the very perception of time seems to be stretched. And episodes from the past, filled with something meaningful and vivid, seem to be longer
By the way, to the question about the "slow motion" effect. It also manifests itself in a situation of shock, when a person needs to react quickly to danger, for example. The brain, within the framework of a protective program, "slows down" time so that we can quickly analyze the situation in all details and make a decision (although in fact this is not a slowdown, but we simply begin to "wiggle the convolutions" faster, because at the moment of danger, hormones are released that activate previously dormant parts of the brain - in particular, the amygdala).
Let's go back to the canonical example of a boring scientific conference. Just remember how long all these countless lectures drag on, when you are bored, the phone has sat down, there is absolutely nothing to do. You just torture every minute, languish from the fact that nothing is happening. And this is even in the best case: after all, if the lecturer also has an unpleasant voice, it is generally a disaster. Whether it's dancing on a Friday night with friends. Is it Sunday already? Wow, time flies! Everything is according to Einstein: sitting for a minute in a hot frying pan is not at all the same as kissing a beautiful girl for a minute. Everything is relative.
This perception of the speed of the passage of time is connected, of course, with emotion. What pleases, what is pleasant, what draws you into the cycle of unrestrained happiness, flashes by - and you will not notice (in real life, not to be confused with memory - see above).
What is boring, static and meaningless (for a specific person) lasts an unbearably long time. And all because the capabilities of our brain are limited: we cannot pay attention to everything at once
And as soon as we focus on something interesting, we stop paying attention to the flow of time itself (perceived as a sensation of a body in space). So it seems to us that time moves faster. The same applies to the moments when we are actively engaged in something.
Number and quality of cases
We experience extension (read: time) in terms of bodily sensations. The less busy our brain is, the more we pay attention to what is happening to the body - and the more attentively we are busy “living” the feeling of the passage of time. We literally feel it flowing through us. When we do nothing, we are more sensitive to the passing time. It stretches. But when we are busy with various things, there is no time (excuse the pun) for a while. A day filled with business and worries flies by quickly and unnoticed. And if you multitask, rest assured that your time runs much faster than the time of others.
It's good if the things that fill your days bring you a variety of emotions. This is a guarantee that later you will often recall various interesting moments - and again stretch the time. But the repetitive monotonous tasks that befall us all in maturity and old age are another story. They not only speed up the flow of time for us in the present moment, they also deprive us of reasons to remember and "freeze the moment" in these memories
When we were very young, every day was filled with new discoveries and experiences. We look back and imagine a time filled with the brightest emotions. And as we get older, we miss new experiences. Everyday life jams: repetitive tasks make our days dull and monotonous. Empty. When we allow such a void in our lives, we don't need to look back. This makes us feel that time has passed faster.
And of course, we must not forget that temperament affects the perception of the speed of the passage of time. Let's recall the conference example again. All our lecture boredom is actually directed. We are waiting. We are looking forward to a coffee break. People become very restless when they are waiting for something they desire. Like a child who can't wait to open New Year's gifts. Now imagine who is easier, and who is more difficult for this expectation - a phlegmatic person or a sanguine person?
In a study by German psychologist Mark Wittmann, participants were asked to sit in a room doing absolutely nothing for seven and a half minutes. And then each answered how much time, according to his feelings, had passed. The calmest respondents named two and a half minutes, while for the most impulsive respondents, this relatively short period of time was similar to the entire 20 minutes
Thus, we understand that the perception of time is also influenced by our internal psychological state (in addition to external factors, by which we often estimate how many seconds, minutes, hours have flown - by traffic, for example, or by the sound of music, or by the duration of a conversation). Feeling anxiety, we internally speed up time (and then it seems to us that five minutes is half an hour), and vice versa.
Some experts even point out that this constant acceleration of time (due to anxiety, in particular) leads to stress. And it would be nice to deliberately slow down periodically to avoid unpleasant consequences. And to do this is very simple: listen more to your body and your emotions. Break every sensation into components, savor it. Pay attention to every little thing - and then you will be able to "slow down" the time in order to fully enjoy life.