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Why does time seem to accelerate as we age?

Why does time seem to accelerate as we age?

Many of us remember the endless summer days during our childhood when one day at the beach seemed to last forever. That's because most of us perceive time as moving faster over the years. Sometimes we have the feeling that as soon as we bring out the barbecue, we find ourselves hanging the Christmas decorations, wondering where the year went. What's going on?

Indefinite
Photo by Saffu / Unsplash

Mind time and clock time are two totally different things. Our perception of time shifts constantly and is influenced by many factors. It depends on the activities we are engaged in, our age and even how much rest we get.

Theories

You are enjoying your time


Our perception of time is influenced by the attention we pay to an activity and how much we enjoy it. Everybody has already noted that time flies when we are having fun, but a meeting at the end of the day seems to be eternal. Our emotional response can alter our perception of its duration.


More responsibility


Responsibility can also influence our perception. Adulthood has always come with more obligations and responsibilities than childhood. The demands of our busy adult lives simply consume larger parts of our day.


Our brain is aging


Our aging brain and the number of mental images the brain encounters also influences our time perception. As we age, the rate at which changes in mental images are perceived decreases because of several transforming physical characteristics, including vision, brain complexity, and later in life, degradation of the pathways that transmit information. And this change in processing the images leads to the feeling that time is speeding up.

You might be surprised at how much you remember those endless summer days of childhood. But it's not that these moments were deeper or more meaningful, it's just that they were being processed by your brain at a rapid rate.

How to slow down time?

Still, we are not entirely prisoners of time. Of course, the clocks will continue to tick and years will continue to fly faster and faster. But by sleeping well and living clean, we can alter our perceptions and slow down mind time.


Practice mindfulness. If you’re interested in slowing down time, you don’t necessarily have to start meditating. You simply need to become more mindful. Mindfulness means that your brain is totally focused on the task at hand. You’re fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing.

Photo by Natalia Figueredo / Unsplash

Change your perspective by learning new skills, exploring new places and meeting new people. These pleasant experiences will encode your brain with new memories that can lengthen your day. A life full of new experiences can slow mental time.