Time and Our Perception

It is rightly said that the only way to stop it slipping away, is by doing new things.

To stop time: kiss,

To travel in time: read,

To escape time: listen to music,

To feel time: write,

To release time: breathe.

Can remember a period in your life when, if you look back on it now, time seemed to stretch on forever? When a week seemed like four or an hour seemed like it went on for days? What were you doing in that period?

Chances are, you were probably doing something (or a whole bunch of somethings) that was brand new to you and demanded your attention. The funny thing is, by focusing on what you were doing, you actually slowed down time (or how your brain perceived that time, anyway).

Time is intrinsically subjective.

Our ‘sense’ of time is unlike our other senses. With time, we don’t so much sense it as perceive it.

When our brains receive new information, it doesn’t necessarily come in the proper order. This information needs to be reorganised and presented to us in a form we understand. When familiar information is processed, this doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated.

When we’re in life-threatening situations, for instance, “we remember the time as longer because we record more of the experience. Life-threatening experiences make us really pay attention, but we don’t gain superhuman powers of perception.”yo

Conversely, if your brain doesn’t have to process lots of new information, time seems to move faster, so the same amount of time will actually feel shorter than it would otherwise. This happens when you take in lots of information that’s familiar, because you’ve processed it before. Your brain doesn’t have to work very hard, so it processes time faster.

Time is this rubbery thing. It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected, it shrinks up.

So if you want your day to last longer then you need to do 5 simple things:

Keep learning- Learning new things is a pretty obvious way to pass your brain new information on a regular basis. If you’re constantly reading, trying new activities or taking courses to learn new skills, you’ll have a wealth of ‘newness’ at your fingertips to help you slow down time.

Visit new places- A new environment can send a mass of information rushing to your brain—smells, sounds, people, colours, textures. Your brain has to interpret all of this. Exposing your brain to new environments regularly will give it plenty of work to do, letting you enjoy longer-seeming days.

This doesn’t necessarily mean world travels, though. Working from a cafe or a new office could do the trick. As could trying a new restaurant for dinner or visiting a friend’s house you haven’t been to.

Meet new people- We all know how much energy we put into interactions with other people. Unlike objects, people are complex and take more effort to ‘process’ and understand.

Meeting new people, then, is a good workout for our brains. That kind of interaction offers us lots of new information to make sense of, like names, voices, accents, facial features and body language.

Try new activities- Have you ever sky dived or done bungee jumping? Why not try some deep diving into the sea. If not anything, try something new in your kitchen or maybe in your play, or at work.

Be spontaneous- Surprises are like new activities: they make us pay attention and heighten our senses. Anyone who hates surprises can attest to that.

If you want to stretch out your day, this is a good way to do it. Try surprising your brain with new experiences spontaneously.


Pankhuri Joshi.

moon (1)
“Don’t worry if you’re creating waves by simply being yourself. The moon does it too.”              – Scott Stabile.
“At times, the duration is long but it is definitely worth the wait.”
“All the truth is crooked, time itself is a circle.”

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