Remember that song from Rocky Horror Picture Show…Let’s Do the Time Warp Again? ?Some of the lyrics suggest that ‘it?s astounding?, ?time is fleeting’, and I have to say that is certainly true for me as I get older. Do you feel the same way? A post by Maria Popova titled?‘Why Time Slows Down When We are Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation’?caught my attention – especially at this time of year when many of us have been on some form of vacation over the holidays.
In the post, Maria reviews?acclaimed BBC broadcaster and psychology writer?Claudia Hammond’s book?Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.??This quote in particular caught my attention:
“We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling ? whether it?s trying to stop the years racing past, or speeding up time when we?re stuck in a queue, trying to live more in the present, or working out how long ago we last saw our old friends.”
Time really does slow down when we are in fear. ?If you have ever experienced an automobile accident, you know that it seems to happen in slow motion.? Well, Hammond says it is indeed a cognitive reality that time slows down on those fear-filled occasions. ?In?this post?in Discover Magazine, Don Foley and Steven Johnson demonstrate how recent research shows that when something bad happens to you, part of your brain begins thinking independently, storing its own memories so it can save/protect you the next time.
And, time really does speed up as we age. ?Part of the reason time seems to go slower when we are younger, is because of the amount of ‘novelty’ present in our lives. ?Think about your late teens and early 20’s, and all of the ‘firsts’ you experienced at that time: your first job, your first love, your first move away from home.
Finally, there is some warping that happens when we are on vacation too. ?Popova writes ‘…?one of the most enchanting instances of time-warping is what Hammond calls the Holiday Paradox ? ?the contradictory feeling that a good holiday whizzes by, yet feels long when you look back.? (An ?American translation? might term it the Vacation Paradox.) Her explanation of its underlying mechanisms is reminiscent of legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman?s theory of?the clash between the ?experiencing self? and the ?remembering self?.
So what can we all do to mess with time in a meaningful way? ?Consider these warping strategies:
Do Something that Scares You:?You do not need to risk your life to experience the rush of adrenalin that you get when you are in real fear. You can simply do something that for you ? is a bit of a risk. What conversation do you need to have, that you have been avoiding? Have it.? What story could you tell your team that shows your vulnerability? Share it. What’s been on your ‘bucket list’ that you could make a reality in 2014? ?Jump in.
Create Lots of Firsts: Decide, as you set goals for the New Year, to add novelty into your life. Do something for the first time. It might be something simple like arriving at work following a different route, changing your home routine, or going ‘commando‘ for a day. Or, it could be something bigger like taking your spouse out to the newest night club in town (which opens way past your bedtime of 9:30 p.m.), participating in a company social event for the first time, or entering a sporting event featuring a sport you have never tried. ?Do it.
Be in the Moment:?Be where you are. ?Just be. ?Practice letting everything else go and be present in your life.? Try something new (even if it scares you) and truly experience it in its fullness. ?Perhaps you need to tell someone in your life just how much you appreciate them.? You might feel vulnerable, and it might be a first for you. You can mess with time even more fully when you anticipate it, fully experience it, and then reminisce about it at the end of the day. Make every day a vacation. Be there.
Are you ready to do the time warp again? ?It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right…
I wish you a hopeful, happy, and healthy 2014!
Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!