When you’re a kid, time seems limitless. Every day passes with syrupy slowness, and years stretch out like taffy.
No wonder many conversations start with, “How is it [insert current month here] already?” If you catch yourself repeating that phrase every 30 days, read on. It’s time to train your brain to stop and smell the roses.
Try something new and exciting
One reason that time seems so limitless for kids is that almost every experience is new and exciting, and newness helps fix an experience in your memories. As you get older, routine takes over and new experiences are generally in shorter supply.
Whatever your age, research shows that trying something new wakes up the brain.
- Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city.
- Try cooking with a new ingredient, like avocado mayo or kimchi.
- Spice up your relationship by changing up date night.
- Look for opportunities throughout the day to say “yes” to new experiences, big and small.
Meditate for 5 minutes every day
Making a special effort to notice more—in other words, practising mindfulness—can help slow your perception of time. Meditation is one of the easiest ways to do this. As a bonus, meditation may also help you sleep better, stress less and have more self-compassion.
To do a quick mindfulness meditation, follow these steps.
- Find a comfortable seated posture.
- Focus your attention on your breath and on how your body moves with your inhalation and exhalation. Try not to control your breath. Instead, focus your attention on the act of breathing.
- When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
If you’ve had trouble meditating in the past, start with just five minutes a day (using a timer is perfectly okay). Try meditating at different times of day to figure out what works for you. Mornings and early evenings often work well, as our minds tend to be less busy then.
Stress less about your to-do list
Time seems to pass more quickly when we feel stressed about having too much to do. You’ve probably experienced moments at work or at home when it seems like your to-do list is endless and there’s not enough time in the day to check off everything.
To alleviate this time pressure, try to work smarter. Avoid multitasking, which can fragment your focus and reduce overall productivity.
Ditch your phone (sometimes)
New research shows that our growing use of technology has made us more efficient at processing information: the more we use computers, the more our minds appear to mimic them. Shouldn’t a fast-thinking, computer-like brain save us time? Yes, theoretically. But there’s a downside.
Constantly being connected to our devices appears to speed up our perception of time. In fact, in one study, just reading an advertisement for technology (in the research study, the latest iPad) was enough to speed up people’s perception of time.