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  1. #1
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    Savoring the Passage of Time

    Savoring the Passage of Time
    Association for Psychological Science blog: We're Only Human
    By Wray Herbert
    December 17, 2009

    I take part in a spinning class a couple times a week, and I always position my bike so I can't see the wall clock. Spinning is really hard, and I know from experience that the session will seem much longer and much more arduous if I have one eye on the clock. It still drags some days, but other days I really forget about the clock. Time flies.

    I know, it's a cliché, but who hasn't experienced a deep connection between the clock and the subjective experience of pleasure or pain? It's what psychological scientists call "naive physics." We all know that time doesn't really ever speed up or slow down; it always ticks at its own pace. But our perceptions of time vary dramatically, depending on our state of mind.

    The universality of this naive theory got scientist Aaron Sackett wondering if the opposite might also be true: If indeed time seems to tick away faster when we're having fun, could a distorted sense of time make an experience more or less enjoyable? And why? Sackett, a professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, ran several experiments to look at this common perception in a variety of ways. All of them involved tinkering with the passage of time in creative ways.

    In one experiment, for example, Sackett and his colleagues put a group of men and women in two rooms, each without any clocks or watches or cell phones. They had them do a timed test, in which they had to read a text and underline certain words - so not particularly fun-filled, but not particularly aversive either. The scientists told the volunteers the test would take exactly ten minutes, and made a big show of starting a stopwatch as they left the room.

    But the test didn't take exactly ten minutes. For some, the scientists reentered after just five minutes, but acted as if the full ten minutes had passed; they even left the stopwatch conspicuously in view. For others, they didn't reenter the room until 20 minutes had passed, but again they left the volunteers with the idea that ten minutes had passed. In other words, for some ten minutes seemed surprisingly long, while for others it seemed short-the lab equivalent of making time fly.

    Then all the volunteers rated the experience for enjoyment, challenge, fun, engagement, and so forth. And the results were clear: If the ten minutes passed surprisingly quickly, volunteers found the word search task more pleasurable than if time seemed to drag. This doesn't mean they found it exhilarating, or that the others found it crushingly boring-but their subjective experiences were definitely different on the pleasure scale.

    But what if the task were actually aversive - more akin to the muscle ache of a spinning class? In a second study, the scientists forced the volunteers to listen to a tape recording of a dot matrix printer for 30 seconds. Thirty seconds is not a long time, but apparently this was a really irritating noise. While they listened, they watched the elapsed time tick off on a screen - except that, unbeknownst to the volunteers, the elapsing time was either too slow or too fast. So again, for some time flew, while for others time dragged.

    And again, time perceptions shaped emotions. When time flew, the tedious listening experience seemed less tedious, more bearable. When it dragged, it was worse; these listeners said they would rather listen to an electric drill if given the option. They also ran the experiment with a pleasant audiotape - of a favorite song - and once again time distortions determined the pleasure of the listening experience. That is, a pleasant experience became more pleasant.

    So what does all of this mean? As the researchers explain on-line this week in the journal Psychological Science, humans are sense-making creatures. If we perceive something in the world as surprising, we automatically look for an explanation for the aberration. So if time sees distorted, we want to know why - and out intuitive physics clicks in: If time flies when we're having fun, then flying time must signal that something fun is taking place.

    In real life, we can't slow or speed up time, of course. But we can shorten our estimates of time, and one way is not to look at clocks or other time cues. There may be other ways to make time fly as well, which suggests the possibility of making the inevitable tedium of everyday life - waiting in line, for example, or even a spinning class - just a bit more fun.

    For more insights into the quirks of human nature, visit the "Full Frontal Psychology" blog at True/Slant. Excerpts from "We're Only Human" appear regularly in the magazine Scientific American Mind.

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    Re: Savoring the Passage of Time

    How to keep time from moving so fast | A Life of Productivity

    The amount of dopamine (a pleasure chemical) found in our brain also steadily declines as we get older, starting in our 20s. Research has found that dopamine helps regulate how we perceive time—the more dopamine that is present in our brain, the slower time passes...

    Two ways to slow time

    I discovered the solution to this is two-fold:

    1. Seek as many new and novel experiences as possible;
    2. Savor what’s already familiar.

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    Re: Savoring the Passage of Time

    “Why it moves so fast now when it used to move so painfully slow. It has to do with the percentage of your life that each day represents. When you’ve lived 25,915 days, one twenty-four-hour span is a very small part of the whole picture. But when you’ve only got 10,220 days under your belt, each day is a bigger portion of that existence.”

    ― Sally Field, In Pieces

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    Re: Savoring the Passage of Time

    I know this is an older post, but I just came across it now...

    I am actually quite alarmed about how so much time escapes me.

    Well now I know it’s because I have ADHD.

    My new ADHD coach has me doing some homework. I am trying to become more mindful of what I’m doing, how long it takes me to do it, and what my internal conversation/motivation is.

    This is SO HARD! It sucks up so much of my energy trying to keep track of everything I do. I hope with practice that it becomes more like second nature.

    Also, on a given day, I’ve discovered that most of the time I’m probably doing a bit more than necessary. I’m told I need to take mental breaks between activities. I never used to do this. It feels like I’m wasting time, not doing anything. It feels like I’m being lazy.

    lol I want to eat the whole day. I don’t want to leave little crumbs behind. There are things I want to do for fun, and things I want to do to keep the house clean/errands/etc... But I guess a person can’t eat constantly either. I’m trying to think of it like that.

    It’s new and strange to just sit. I thought about my dogs that have passed away yesterday. How much I miss them. How sweet our little Sasha girl (Frenchie) was right up until the end. Such a sweet momma dog, with her little diva body language, and her cuddles. Just the warmest, most gentle little sweetheart. And she had to be helped over the rainbow bridge because of seizures. We tried everything. She was on very strong meds. She improved for about a month but then the seizures started up again. I feel so torn. I don’t know if we waited too long to put her at rest. She wasn’t herself anymore and not even Phenobarbital or CBD oil helped her.

    Bruiser was such a gentle soul. I hope we didn’t keep him alive too long either. He had myasthenia gravis, which is as horrible as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in humans.

    I’ve been tearing up about how these beautiful (inside and outside) dogs both got so sick. It really tears me up inside.

    They both passed away years ago, but I still find it very difficult/impossible to watch videos of them when they were happy and active.

    Douglas, our current dog, is now 3. He’s very healthy and so funny and goofy! I feel guilty when I don’t look after him because I think back to our other dogs.

    On some level I know it’s healthy to process some of this. I couldn’t seem to process it much until now, when I actually take time to just sit and relax a bit.


    Sent from my Hollycopter using SlappaSquawk
    (Formerly JollyGreenJellyBean)

    My dog is a human whisperer.

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    Re: Savoring the Passage of Time

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/2...ong-about-time

    If you do want to shed that unsettling feeling on a Sunday evening that the weekend has whizzed by, there is something you can do: constantly seek out new experiences. Take up new activities at weekends and visit new places, rather than heading for the same pub or cinema. All this fun means the time will fly in the moment – but because you will lay down more memories, when you get to Monday morning, the weekend will have felt long.

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    Re: Savoring the Passage of Time

    Its only been 5 months of COVID? The psychology behind time perception

    It turns out that the idiom that "time flies when you're having fun" is not all that far off -- except more accurately, the idiom might be that "time flies when you're accomplishing goals."

    ...Tsai recommends that people who feel their weeks have been blending together in a sea of monotony from April to August find an activity with which they can break up their day, such as a regular afternoon outing for exercise. Not only will a walk or run add variety to your day and give you a goal to accomplish - but exercise also does wonders for mental health...

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