How to Slow Down Time

Another year over and you’re wondering where the time went? Well, although we can’t turn back time, here are a couple of tips on how to keep it from picking up speed as it goes by.

timeby Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D

Why is it that time appears to go more quickly as we get older?

There are some recent books that tackle this psychological issue, and while there are a number of theories, the best explanation is that novel experiences seem to slow time perception down. Repetition of events seems to make them go faster…

I have written about time perception before, and readers have proposed some competing theories. One popular theory maintains that there is a sort of mathematical formula going on that divides our lifetime. As an 8-year-old child, a year is one-eighth of the lifetime – a significant (and memorable) portion; as a 50-year old, it’s only one-fiftieth. But that theory assumes that our brains work like computers, storing every single bit of information, like a filmed, life-long documentary. But that’s not how the brain works.

Perception and memory psychologists argue that memories are a social re-construction, not a literal record like computer files. Not every memory is stored as a distinct event, and the vast majority of our memories of places and times are not accessible.

Here’s [an] example: The first time you drive to a distant locale, it seems like it takes forever (remember that first weekend getaway, or commuting trip the first day of the new job?). As you repeat the drive, over and over, the time flies by, and you can’t recall any specific trip, unless something “memorable” happens. A really long traffic jam; a fender bender; etc. Or, the first day of a two-week beachside vacation seems to go on and on, a long, and enjoyable experience (“Wow, I’ve got two whole weeks of this!”). But before you know it, your packing for home.

So what is the key to time perception? Routine makes time go faster, unique and memorable events slow down time. Although there is comfort in routine, it does make time fly. So, if you want to “slow down” time… change the routine. Create unique experiences for each one. You can also engage in greater mindfulness – focusing on and savoring each passing moment. The old adage of “live for the moment” is the key to slowing down those quickly passing years.

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meditation as treatment for addiction, anxiety…

Read Think Write Teach

Physicians Explain How Stress, 12-Step Programs Change the Brain

When Bill W. and Dr. Bob created Alcoholics Anonymous 77 years ago, they borrowed principles learned from a Christian fellowship called the Oxford Group to create their 12-step recovery program.

“They knew that their spiritual program was effective where other ‘cures’ had failed, and over the years, there have been many theories as to why,” says Dr. Harry Haroutunian, physician director of the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, and collaborator with Dr. Louis Teresi on the book, Hijacking the Brain: How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hijacks our Brains – The Science Behind Twelve-Step Recovery (www.HijackingTheBrain.com).

“Now we know that stress is the fuel that feeds addiction, and that stress and drug and alcohol use cause neurological and physiological changes,” Haroutunian says. “The changes are primarily in the deep brain reward centers, the limbic brain, responsible for decisions, memory…

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Thinking your way out of suffering…

Portland Mindfulness Therapy

Pain.

We don’t like it.  It’s unpleasant.  It disrupts our concentration.  It saps our energy.  It can, if we let it, make our lives unlivable.  And at the same time, we cannot avoid it, if we live long enough.

Pain may be the single most helpful asset to a mindfulness meditation practice.  Granted, that’s not much comfort if you’re in pain, especially if you don’t practice meditation.  Even if you do practice mindfulness, it can be very challenging to apply this practice to pain.  We tend to equate mindfulness practice with pleasant feelings, despite how wildly inaccurate that equation may be.  When we’re in pain, we simply don’t want to feel our feelings, because, well, they suck.

It is the fundamental suckiness of things that led Shakyamuni Buddha to his realization of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.  Now, you don’t have to be a Buddhist to see some logic…

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Mindful stress management…

Raydiance Reiki

Stressed, anxious or blue? For a simple no-pressure way to uplift yourself, try mindful walking.  If you do it right, it leaves little room for stressful thoughts – in fact it’s meditation in motion.

Walking is a brilliant mood booster.  A good walk can out the world in perspective and soothe your frayed nerves.  If you really want to feel alive, go for a walk in the wind or rain – there’s plenty of opportunity for that right now! Forget slogging through uninspiring walks.  There’s no need to rush – the aim is walk as mindfully as you can.

Where do we start?

In the next week, take at least one 15-30 minute walk. You don’t have to go anywhere special; a walk around your local neighbourhood taken with an open frame of mind can be just as interesting as a hike through the mountains.

Be aware of all your…

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alternahealthgrrrl

Dr. Jeff Brantley

Dr. Jeff Brantley, founder and director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at Duke Integrative Medicine, reads from his book, “Five Good Minutes At Work,” during a DukeWell seminar. “The five good minutes concept is simple,” Brantley writes in the book. “Take the time, for just five minutes to be present mindfully.”

1. Focus on a calming object. When negative thoughts fill the mind, ground yourself by looking at an object that invokes calmness, such as a plant or a personal photo. Then focus your attention on your breath for several minutes. When your attention wanders toward the negative thoughts, focus it gently again on your breath and the object.
2. Train your attention. Choose a rote task like washing your hands and train yourself to pay attention to the sensations of the moment each time you do it. “This is a way of practicing focusing our attention,” Brantley said…

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