Where does the time go?
OMG it is March already. As I am going to write this, I realize that 6 months has passed since my last post, but doesn’t feel like it at all. This realization has got me thinking… Why does time goes so fast? And as we age why does time even seems to go faster and faster.
First of all, there is a ratio effect on our perception of time. Say for example, you are a five year old and a year passes. The passing of that year represents a whooping 20% of your life. However, when you’re fifty the passing of that same year only represents only 2% of your total life. So it is not that the goes any faster but it is our perception of time itself.
A reason that time seems to go more quickly as we age is that our minds measure time in terms of VMU (vivid memory units). When we are young, everything is new and fresh. When things are new, they seem more exciting, exhilarating, terrifying, happy or sad. So if events are more emotionally charged, we are more likely to experience them fully and record them as vivid memories. Unfortunately our wonder and amazement about life fades as we age, so we store less vivid memories as we get older than we did when we were young.
Lastly, time seems to rush by because there is a constant pressure of not having enough of it. This will certainly depend on lifestyle and how much we feel the pressure of being on time, rushing to get things done, or be somewhere at a certain time, etc… if the pressure of not having enough time is always weighing down on us, it makes us feel we have less time than we actually do.
Also our society is goal oriented and obsessed with getting things done, as a result, there is very little to no down time. Even during “time off” there are still errands, sports games, events, housework etc. Think about it... When was the last time you did nothing for longer than like 10 minutes? I am not talking about nothing like read a book, or watch TV, or surf on the internet, or go on facebook. I am talking about actually do nothing. It doesn't happen much.
So how do we slow down…? Let ask the Yogis.
- Pranayama - Ancient yogis believed that our lives were measured in the number of breaths taken. Yogis practiced forms of pranayama to increase the length of their breath, and increase the length of their lifetime as a result. Whether or not this is actually true is up for debate, but the benefits of lengthen your breath are certainly real. Practicing regular pranayama can help contribute to a healthy nervous system. A healthy nervous system will improve the function of basically all the other other systems in the body: cardiovascular system, blood circulation, digestive system, immune system, lymphatic system, cognitive and memory function all improve, etc. When our nervous system is healthy we also tend to feel less stressed, to be more focused, and think more clearly. Whether or not doing pranayama will literally give us more time are inconclusive, however with the numerous benefits of Pranayama, it can not hurt.
- Practice Presence- Our minds measure time in terms of VMU (vivid memory units.) We are far more likely to remember things with great accuracy, when we are fully present, engaged, and connected. Try this practice my teacher Mynx Inatsugu taught me a while back. ~Treate every moment like it is the first and last moment. Imagine the wonder in the eyes of a baby seeing the world for the first time, and the affectionate longing of someone looking at their loved ones in the last precious moments life. It's true we never know when our time will come and every moment we have is unique and precious. Can you bring more wonder and affectionate longing into your experience of life?
- Pen to paper- Every evening before going to bed write down 1-3 things that you would like to remember from your day. The act of simply recalling your day when it is fresh in your mind and putting a pen to paper will help store those memories you wish to hold on to.
- Stop rushing- Schedule time in your day to do nothing. Do not over schedule yourself. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. So dream big and go for your goals but don't rush them. Next time you are feeling rushed or in a hurry. Try the mantra I have all the time I need.
P.S. don't forget we loose an hour on Sunday night for Daylight savings time, nothing that we can do about that.
XO ~ Jenna
Reference -Wittmann M, Lehnhoff S. "Age effects in perception of time.", Psychol Rep. 2005 Dec;97(3):921-35. -Stone, Jim Ph.D "why is time passing so quickly these day" PsychologyToday