Royce Shook

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Our perception of time changes as we age

I talked about my fall a few posts ago, and when I described the event, it seemed as if I was experiencing everything in slow motion. At a workshop on Fall Prevention about a week later, I asked how many had taken serious falls. Of the 40 people at the seminar 30 put up their hands. At the break, many talked to me about their experience and all talked about how they saw the event happening in slow motion.

This is a normal phenomenon those who experience life-threatening events are most likely to believe that time expanded and that everything happened in slow motion, and they probably remembered the experience in vivid detail.

In a recent experiment, a scientist found that time doesn’t actually slow down when we’re fearing for our lives. Instead, scary and stressful situations send our amygdala – a part of the brain connected with memory and emotion – into overdrive. With the amygdala working in overtime our brain records more detail than it normally does. We have, because of our amygdala working harder, rich, dense memories of those moments. This means when we review the experience, there’s a lot more stuff for us to see and or feel than normal, making the experience seem like it lasted longer.

Back to the observation, my wife made about time seeming to speed up as we grow older.  When we were young, everything was new and we were regularly engaging in new to us activities. Because everything is new to us our brain was laying down the kind of rich, dense memories that stretch out your perception of time.

As we age, we fall into routines and the idea is that “been there, don’t that” overtakes our thinking. As we age, we created the patterns of our lives and we created a series of routine day to day activities. If today is Friday, this is what will happen. We don’t have any reason to expend energy on capturing our repetitive and foreseeable morning travel or the eating of our turkey sandwich on Friday at work. Because we follow a routine our brain shuts off so when we review our lives there is little footage to think about and life seems to have passed in a transitory haze.

Since our perception of time is a function of our brain, we have it in our power to slow down (or speed up) our perception of time. You can’t literally make your life longer it would be great if we had this power, but we can make life seem longer. How, is this done? Regularly inject a little novelty into your life. As we get older, we can still seek out new horizons and new “firsts.” Here are some ideas to inject novelty into your life:

· If you wear a watch, try switching the wrist, you put your watch on

· Changing around the arrangement of your furniture at home

· Driving a different way to work

· Learn a new language, skill or hobby

· Take up volunteering

· Adopt a new pet

· Foster a child

· Read a new genre of writing

· Write a blog

As we mature and look back over our lives, my hope is that you have decades of new adventures, interesting events, fun family times, and holidays as well as new ideas and thoughts that make you think that your life has been long and well lived.

By increasing the novelty in your life, you may at the end, instead of seeing your life flash before your eyes, enjoy the satisfaction of watching it unhurriedly unfold and relish the sense of having fit several lifetimes into a single one.


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Ken Boddie

3 years ago #6

Personally, Royce, I leave the analysis of the amygdala to my good friend Ian Weinberg. I can claim through personal experience, however, that certain pieces of furniture have a remarkable capability to slow down time. Take the dentist’s chair, for example. 🤣😂🤣

Royce Shook

3 years ago #5

Thanks Franci great tips, especially the idea of moving into the fine arts, like drawing or painting. Thank you for the ideas
Great tips, Royce Shook. Keeping oneself relative is key. There's much we can do - learn to play a musical instrument, learn how to draw or paint, learn how to dance, and exercise.

Royce Shook

3 years ago #3

Bill, thanks for the additional tips and for your links I appreciate them. I enjoyed listening to the podcast
COOL Bill Stankiewicz CEO Savannah Supply Chain Office: 1.404.750.3200 USA Brand Ambassador Startup Community every Wed@ 9:00am at 2222 Bull Street
WOW, great buzz Royce Shook, much enjoyed here & use your tips here on a regular basis: · Learn a new language, skill or hobby · Take up volunteering · Adopt a new pet · Baby sit friends for free my Bill S tip · Read a new genre of writing · Write a blog Bill Stankiewicz CEO Savannah Supply Chain Office: 1.404.750.3200 USA Brand Ambassador Startup Community every Wed@ 9:00am at 2222 Bull Street

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