5 Ways to Slow Down Precious Time
During our youth, parents and grandparents warned that time flies faster as we grow older, but no one mentioned that this phenomenon happens to all of us regardless of age. Time passes too quickly. The end of the month arrives, and before we know it, we’re standing in front of a store display promoting a holiday that seemed months away but now is only weeks out.
These days the pace of life feels insane, and all the gadgets that help us do more in less time cause us to lose sight of the importance of experiencing the awes of existence, such as the changing of seasons or watching our child who learned to walk just last month try to run. We come home exhausted, feeling like the good times are passing us by. Although every day consists of 24 hours, researchers have discovered that our perception of time, often referred to as “felt time”, matters more than the actual hours in a day. When we experience positive emotions, such as joy or laughter, time seems to pick up speed, leading us to feel as if time is being lost or that we cannot possibly have enough of it. The goal in life is to tap the brake on the “felt time” of awe, joy, and appreciation. These five suggestions can help you slow down and experience the good times, amplifying your awareness of the preciousness of the moment.
Limit time on social media. Time consumed by social media is one of the greatest time-wasters, leaving many users with negative feelings about squandering their time. Enhance your mental and physical health by replacing time devoted to social media with group activities with loved ones, such as board games or long walks together.
Organize and structure your day. People feel greater control over their time when they set a goal or structure for their day. Schedule a meet up with a friend or enjoy a cup of tea in the back yard to increase “felt time”. This allows your mind to shift perspective and slow down your perception of time.
Celebrate “lasts”. You may feel hurried or anxious when dropping your child off for school or other activities, but remember that someday they will no longer need a ride from you. As they mature, they will no longer need your help. When you keep this in mind during hurried or frazzled times, you better appreciate the incredible opportunity you have as a parent to chauffeur your child and bond with them.
Practice seeing the forest through the trees. Stress causes us to constantly look ahead as we worry about every detail of our schedule, distracting us from the delight of the present. Fixating too heavily on the details of everyday life rather than its purpose and meaning shrinks the amount time our mind can enjoy spending time with loved ones. Transporting the kids to school, packing lunches, carrying the right equipment to work, hauling the dog to the groomer; the details of each task overwhelm you. Instead, focus on the big picture. As a parent, direct your attention to how your actions prepared your child for a good day at school or work. As an employee, focus on the reward you’ll feel after your presentation. When we place a spotlight on the feelings we want in the long-term, we slow down the feeling of time moving too quickly.
Dedicate time to discovering more inspiration and awe. When experiencing awe, it can strike you with something so vast or life-altering that you’re left with a feeling of wonder. Scientists have suggested that encountering just 10 minutes of awe each day strengthens our immune system and overall well-being. Simple activities can spur awe: observing a garden outside your door, taking a stroll in the woods, or sustaining a spiritual breakthrough on an issue you struggled with. The process of reserving 10 minutes each day to find awe helps shift your perspective and slow down time.
Time moves at the same pace as it always has, but what we do with it can either improve how we feel about our lifestyle or cause us to feel as frantic as a hamster spinning on a wheel without an exit. Engage in activities that help you decelerate time and stay in the present by observing the small wonders of each and every day.