Learning new things is an obvious way to cause your brain to process more information and slow down time. Given the subject matter of this book, if you are going to learn something new, it might as well be something that will help you maximize your impact.
Experiencing a new environment can result in an avalanche of new information that needs to be processed by your brain—smells, sounds, people, colors, textures. Your brain will attempt to interpret all of it exposing your brain to new environments regularly will replenish the workload and contribute to the perception that your days are longer. New environments do not have to be located on the other side of the planet. New environments can be places that you don’t normally go in your own neighborhood, for example, different restaurants, retailers and even the house of a friend.
a lot of energy goes into managing new interactions with other people. Unlike inanimate objects, people are complex and interactive and require more effort and “processing power” to understand them and to make decisions about how to deal with them. He’s also a multisensory experience that involves processing and making sense of a lot of new information like names, voices, accents, facial features and body language.
Friedman suggested that people underestimate time while completing attention-demanding tasks because people’s attention is diverted from time-keeping when they are engaged in challenging activities. While time may fly when you are having fun, Friedman also points out that time slows down during periods of high expectation, nervousness, fear, or anticipation.
Doing new activities that are very different from your daily routine essentially forces you to pay attention. Your brain is on high alert and your senses are heightened and it takes in and notices every little detail. Paying attention while on high alert means giving the brain a lot to process which, in turn, slows down the perceived passing of time.
Spontaneity causes the brain to break out of his comfort zone and start understanding a sudden new situation. These situations make us pay attention and heighten our senses.
The pressure of time
What Is Overwhelm?
We are all extremely focused on efficiency and doing more in less time. As a result, many people experience relentless overwhelm every day and sometimes freeze or experience a form of organizational paralysis as they realize that everything that has to get done will not get done.
Many people in this situation will not break away and decide not to make any changes in their lives because they think that the forces that are causing this situation cannot be changed or are not under their control. Chronic overwhelm is one of the major causes of anxiety and anxiety disorders. When you’re overwhelmed, your mind overloads with all that’s going on. It takes a toll on your nervous, immune, and hormonal systems, and left unattended likely will produce cycles of anxiety, fatigue, and temporary despair. People on this kind of overload are more susceptible to disease and they age faster.
A significant contributor to overwhelm is “project identity”. When you invest a lot of mental energy into a project and, a lot of emotional energy, that energy can create tunnel vision, leaving you unable to see or appreciate other important things in your life. When someone or something interferes with that focus, the result often involves irritation, anxiousness, and frustration, especially when deadlines must be met. This often results in pushing people away, neglecting other areas of your life.
Another indicator of overwhelm in today’s world, particularly in affluent nations, is “stimulation overload.” There is too much happening at the same time.
The Institute of HeartMath suggests that you can recognize overwhelm by looking for the following indicators:
- Always rushed, too much to do, not enough time.
- Mentally scattered, not feeling in control.
- Tunnel vision: irritation at anyone or anything that breaks your focus.
- Internal pressure: raw or gnawing feeling in your gut, the knot in your stomach.
- Impatience: lack of compassion for self and others, judgmental thinking.
- Feeling a constant slow burn inside.
- Low-grade shock and strain.
- Zombielike numbness: no feelings – positive or negative; mental or emotional paralysis.
- Feeling disconnected from life.
- Decreased enjoyment of projects, relationships or life in general.
- Feeling all-consuming alarm and dread.
Whenever we come across milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or retirements we often take a moment to reflect on the relentless passage of time. The relentlessness of time never stopping or slowing down causes us to feel more complexity in our existence seems and this complexity often results in increased demands on our time. It may be worth thinking about time-shifting.
Time-shifting is not a science fiction concept. It is a simple process in which time is saved and gained as you change your perceptions of it. Think about a situation that triggered and negative response from you and try to recall the amount of time that you spend entangled in that response. Now consider how your response would have felt better to you if you had just said to yourself “well, this happened and this is what I’ve learned from it and there’s no point in spending any more time thinking about it”. How much time would you have saved?
“OK, it happened, but I won’t dwell on it”? How much time would you have saved then? How much would you have saved in the past year? HeartMath founder Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer say:
“Time shifting is survival in the Internet age. It describes an internal state so coherent that your perception of time – and your ability to shape it – changes dramatically. Every time you catch yourself before falling into a negative reaction, you have time-shifted. Every time you stop long enough to find an intuitive solution instead of rushing ahead impulsively, you have time-shifted. Every time you allow your intuitive intelligence to propel you out of inertia or confusion, you have time-shifted. If you arrive at a solution to a difficult personal or organizational issue in five minutes instead of five hours, you have time-shifted. You have jumped out of the self-limiting mental frequency that says, “Certain things just take time,” into a new dimension. Time-shifting means moving past standard linear time flows.”
Benefits of Managing Overwhelm/Time Pressure
- New sense that you have the time you need
- Hopeful feelings replace hopeless feelings
- More time for things you want to do
- Improved outlook on life
- More patience with people, less irritable
- More relaxed, greater enjoyment at work and play
Meditation & Time
Researchers at the University of Kent in Canterbury, Kent, UK focused on examining the benefits of meditation in everyday life and performance. They found that mindfulness in particular improves attention, working memory capacity, and reading comprehension. They also noticed that mindfulness meditation appeared to alter time perception and suggested that this was likely due to its emphasis on moment-to-moment awareness.
The Illusion of Time
The present moment feels special to us because it feels much more real than the past or the future. Regardless of how much we think about the past and the future, we are inextricably rooted in the present. Now that you have read this sentence, the present moment in which it was read has now become the past. Therefore, we feel like time is flowing in the present is constantly updating itself. We also have a sense that the past is fixed and cannot be changed while the future consists of possibilities until one of them becomes fixed in the present. This structure involves a fixed past and immediate present, and an open future is carried forward in time and we structure our lives around it.
However, although this may seem obvious and natural, it is not necessarily reflected in science the major physics equations do not tell us which events are occurring right now. They are more focused on revealing all of the possibilities. Further, Einstein’s theories of relativity suggest that there is no single special present and that all moments are equally real and that the future is no more open than the past.
The inconsistencies between scientific theory and our anecdotal experience of time have been the subject of hot debate since Einstein’s theory of relativity was revealed. At this point in time in our history, some theoretical physicists have even come to believe that time does not even exist. However, a hypothesis of a timeless universe must somehow explain how we see change if the world is not changing.
Everyone sees time the same way – this was Newton’s view. Einstein thought time could run at different rates so time may be different for different people. Einstein discovered that time was experienced individually not by everyone and everything. it’s as if everyone has their own private time that runs at its own rate. time is not universal. Einstein came to this conclusion by discovering a connection between space and time. He discovered that movement through space is linked to the passage of time. In summary, the more you have one less you have of the other. According to Einstein’s formula time moves more slowly for somebody that is moving and moves more quickly for somebody they stationary. The reason we don’t see this effect during everyday life is that we are very small compared to the universe which is extremely big. However, this effect can be measured. In 1971 scientists flew an atomic clock around the world and compared it to one that was stationary on the ground. As predicted by Einstein’s theory, the two clocks were no longer in sync. The difference in time measured by the two clocks was extremely small but it was indisputable and proved Einstein’s theory to be correct. The theory has been tested and retested many times. As a result of this link between space and time, Einstein determined that they can no longer be considered to be separate things and this resulted in what has become known as space-time.
One of the astonishing consequences of Einstein’s theory and the fusion of space and time is that the difference between past present and future may be an illusion.
Next article in this series: “Energy – What Is it?