Time is truly a complicated matter. Remember how as a child you were waiting for your birthday and how it seemed to take forever to arrive? And now as an adult, the time from Monday to Sunday passes all too briefly.
How does time do that? How does time trick us?
Looking from a scientific, psychological and biological perspective, the greatest influence on how we perceive time is made by our internal rhythms, gained experiences, and memories.
Everyone perceives time differently
Five minutes seems to be a definite time limit. However, after five minutes, ask ten people how it passed for them – did it go quick or did it seem long? We can bet that each of them would have a different opinion.
Emotions and time are connected
How do you feel? Happy, depressed, horrified, fascinated, angry, sad? When you look at the full scale of emotions you will soon realize that time is perceived differently during each of those sensations. However, one study suggests that pleasant emotions theoretically last longer.
Researchers say that negative emotions can be adopted in different ways, especially then it comes to anxiety or tension. Meanwhile, boredom is usually distinguished by the sense that time slows or stops.
The older we become, the faster time seem to pass
Why does time appear to pass more quickly the older we get?
It is argued that as a younger person gets acquainted with the world all that new information raises a lot of intrigue and thus, according to Scientific American, a lot of “firsts” but as we get older we generally lack new experiences.
Psychologist William James, in his 1890 text Principles of Psychology, wrote that as we age, time seems to speed up because adulthood is accompanied by fewer and fewer memorable events.
One study states that 20-year-olds felt time quite accurately while the persons in their 70s significantly overestimated the time (they said, that the time has passed much faster). The mentioned Scientific American article points out –
“How fast did the last 10 years pass for you?” yielded a tendency for the perception of the speed of time (in the last decade, anyway) to increase with age; this pattern peaked at age 50, however, and remained steady until the mid-90s.
Latest technologies changing the concept of time
A few recently done studies state that social networks and smart devices are “stealing” our time more than we think about it. We are always checking the latest news or messages, often wasting time, and we become new technologies’ hostages. In fact, a 2013 Internet Trends report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers shows that people check their phones up to 150 times a day. According to RawHide, “Every year, teens spend almost 7 full work days taking selfies.”
Stanford University psychologist Dr. Phillip Zimbardo believes that social networking is actually changing the concept of time, and how we take it.
So maybe if you are constantly online but can’t understand where the time passed, log off and enjoy your life without the blue screens.
Joan Rivers said it perfectly: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.”
Past, present, future
However, if you don’t want tomorrow to be a mystery, you should realize that every moment is now, because the past and future concepts become one. The essence lies in the fact that every event in the past and the future is and will be affected by what we do now.
As G.I. Gurdjieff explained:
“In order to know the future it is necessary first to know the present in all its details, as well as to know the past. Today is what it is because yesterday was what it was. And if today is like yesterday, tomorrow will be like today. If you want tomorrow to be different you must make today different.”
Original article by Michelle Ross.