HOW TO SLOW DOWN THE TIME
Time travel has always been very fascinating to me and I really enjoy watching movies where travelling through time is part of the story. The most famous ones must be the Back To The Future trilogy but there are other great ones, like The Time Travellers Wife.
As far as I know, travelling in time isn’t possible but there are a few tricks you can apply to either speed up the time, or to slow it down. Well, to be honest, you cannot actually do that yet, but you can trick your brain to believe it’s happening.
IS IT FRIDAY ALREADY?
I am sure you often have asked yourself “where did the time go?” and that isn’t an unusual question at all. Some days or weeks go by really fast and others are moving forward with almost no speed.
We all know that time flies when you’re having fun and it slows way down during moments of extreme experience. If you as an example are watching a really good movie or are attending a great concert or party, time goes by too fast. If you, on the other hand, ever have been in a car accident, it’s not unlikely that you experienced that the actual crash happened in slow motion, which it, of course, didn’t.
Some years back I was involved in an accident on my motorcycle. Circumstances were, that all the sudden a small car was heading towards me on a head-on collision course and from the very second I realized we would hit each other, it felt like time slowed down and everything happened like I was part of a movie which was being shown frame by frame. I had less than a second to act and per instinct, I steered my motorcycle out of the car's path towards me, and off the road. It felt like it happened by itself like I wasn’t handling the motorcycle. Unfortunately, I hit some sort of obstacle on the grassy shoulder so when I got back onto the road, now behind the car, I couldn’t keep the motorcycle upright and I fell. It all happened within 2-3 seconds but to me, it felt a lot longer.
THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY
Creating an accident isn’t a great way to slow down time of course, but luckily there are other less dramatic ways.
How we perceive time is anything but constant and that is great news because it opens up an opportunity for us to manipulate it to some degree. The keyword is attention. If you give your attention to where you are, what you do, and who you are doing it with, you will experience that these situations will be kept in your memory better than if you do the same things per routine.
Before we get to some practical examples of how you can slow down time, I would like to describe two situations which most likely are very familiar to you.
THE LONG WEEK
I am sure that you have been away on a vacation for a week or two and when you got home, it felt like you had been away a lot longer than you actually had. How can that be?
Unless you have been doing the exact same thing every day e.g. laying on the same sunbed in the same spot next to the pool and sitting at the same table for most meals during the entire vacation, you will most likely have experienced a great number of things, all new to you, over the course of the whole trip.
In other words, if you have managed to make every day different from the others in regard to events and activities, your brain will have a lot of new inputs to handle. If every single one of these events occupies a certain space of the memory of available, the overall perception of the vacation will be “full” as everything you have experienced will take up a lot of “room” in your memory.
Try to imagine that you would take a snapshot every time you did something that you haven’t done before on that specific trip. That could be whenever you used a different type of sunbed at a different spot or even at a different pool. Or when you sat at a different table at the restaurant or maybe visited a different restaurant all together or maybe even made a picnic instead of lunch at the place you went to the day before. Maybe you tried a different activity than you did the day before or visited a different attraction each day. That would be a lot of pictures which would make your photo album with vacation pictures pretty full.
By incorporation a lot of new things and different routines, you will create many new “snapshots” for your brain to remember. Makes sense, huh?
THE SHORT WEEK
Everyone has experienced the short week and for many, much too often that they would care to think about.
When the week feels short it flies by like it was only two days since it was Monday and yet, here we are, it’s Friday already.
You might have guessed by now why it feels like that. Yes, because we are doing the same things over and over. During the week many of us get up at the same time every morning. We eat the same for breakfast and leave home at the same time to get on the same bus or train or to commute by car on the same route as always. At work, we meet the same people at the water cooler, or vending machine, and we might even sit at the same spot in the lunch room, chatting with the same people as we normally do.
When back home, again in the same way as we normally do, we do pretty much the same chores as the day before, and when we finally turn the light out and say good night, the day we just experienced was an 80% copy of any other weekday.
All this means, that when we get to Friday, the number of snapshots in our memory are few and there are not many new ones. Our brain does not have a lot of new impressions to work with, and the days blend together and the week seems to be very short. Makes sense too, huh?
This isn’t just valid for weekdays of course. If you do the same again and again on the weekend, Monday is back before you know it. Not good some would say.
Sometimes it’s good that the weekdays go by fast if you don’t like your job that much but in general, most people seem to think that time flies by too fast. If there is a way to slow down our perception of time, it wouldn’t be bad to know how that can be done.
TAKE MORE SNAPSHOTS
Based on what you just read, it is easy to conclude, that if we would like the time to slow down, we need to switch up the routines during the week and the weekend. We basically need to avoid doing the same things again and again. Certain things cannot be any different than they are e.g. going to work. Most people have firm office hours which does not allow for any wiggle room.
However, this doesn’t mean you must give up “taking more snapshots”. There are plenty of areas of your life where you can create variety. Here are some examples and I am sure you can continue the list yourself.
- Eat something different for breakfast throughout the week.
- Drive to work on different routes. Find at least 2-3 alternatives to your regular trip.
- Work from home 1-2 days a week if possible, but not the same days every week.
- If you work offer flex hours you can come in early on some days and late on others. If your morning routine with kids and family allows.
- Go for lunch at different times and different places throughout the week.
- Don’t shop for groceries at the same store at the same time every time.
- Try not to sit at the same spot at the dinner table every day.
- If your partner/kids agree, share the cooking among yourselves. When they cook you can read, listen to music, do yoga or whatever you like.
- This one is difficult. Don’t sleep on the same side of the bed every night. Hard habit to break.
I am sure you get the idea? All it takes is a bit of creativity and a will to succeed.
A final word
Slow down time at your own risk. There are times when you may want to experience more of life or think more deeply about all the things you want to give your attention to. Other times, you just want to have fun.