Can we change our perception of time?

A psychologist explains how to slow down time when it flies by too quickly

You have probably already had the feeling that time seems to go by far too quickly and that events like birthdays are recurring faster and faster. While you spent endless summer vacations as a child, time flies by all the faster in adulthood.

If you know the psychological background, you can control your time yourself

According to psychologist Steve Taylor, this doesn't have to be the case. As he writes in a post for the platform "The Conversation", some situations seem endless, while time is accelerated in others. Mind-altering drugs can also lead to an altered sense of time perception.

Taylor believes that anyone can slow down their own perception of time as long as they understand the psychological reasons behind their experiences.

New places and experiences lengthen the perceived time

In his book "Making Time" Taylor tries to explain why time seems to pass faster or slower in some situations. Among other things, he assumes that time flies by more and more with increasing age. We also perceive new experiences and situations to be rather long-lasting.

This in turn is due to the fact that there is a connection between the information to be processed and a person's time perception. New situations must first be grasped and processed by the mind, which is why time slows down.

This also explains why people are particularly sensitive to trips abroad or training days in another location. The surroundings and the situations are new and must first be grasped and familiarized with. A lot of information has to be processed, which is why the time experienced slows down.

For children, situations often last longer

Now it also becomes clear why time tends to pass more slowly for children. While adults have already had many experiences and developed a certain routine in the course of their lives, children have yet to experience many things with all their thoughts and feelings. Adults usually no longer need to process this information in their minds.

In addition, it must be taken into account that each period of time as you get older takes up a smaller part of your whole life.

One theory suggests that the neurotransmitter dopamine is released when new stimuli are perceived. This should help in learning the delusion of time. However, since dopamine levels drop after the age of 20, time seems to pass faster for the person, according to the physiological explanation.

Lifetime can be extended through conscious experiences

In order to be able to slow down the perception of time, Taylor suggests two things:

On the one hand, people can expose themselves to as many new situations and experiences as possible. As already explained, time passes faster in everyday situations, which is why a series of new experiences, such as traveling or meeting new people, can cause time to slow down.

On the other hand, one should be careful to perceive one's surroundings and change one's attitude towards experiencing experiences. When we experience things or situations with all our senses, a lot of information is processed and time slows down.

It is important to concentrate on the current situation and your own feelings and not let your thoughts wander into the future or the past. We have to become aware of the environment and try to experience it as intensely as possible.

Time is not an enemy - we can extend it ourselves

Even when cleaning or doing housework, the music should be turned off and the situation should be experienced with all the physical stimuli. According to Taylor, this leads to some things being perceived as more comfortable for the person.

The psychologist gives the all-clear: time does not have to be viewed as an adversary, as we can understand how it can be controlled. Even if a healthy diet and exercise can increase our lifespan, we can also use the time better ourselves - through a conscious, intensive perception of the world.