How do we perceive time based on our emotions? – Health and wellness

If time is the same for everyone, why do we perceive its passage differently? Discover how we perceive time based on our emotions and other factors such as age.

Have you ever wondered if your emotions or mood affect the way you perceive time? Maybe when you’re sad you think everything goes slower or when you’re excited or having fun you feel like time flies… The truth is that there is an objective reality and that time flows equally for everyone. What changes is the perception we have of this passage of days.

Now, this question is more complex than a superficial analysis might reveal, as the perception of time changes depending on how we feel, how old we are, and also the situations we experience. Let’s go deeper.

The perception of time according to our emotions

Time perception is like an internal clock in us. And this is a very useful thing, for time centers us and locates us; In addition, this perception can also help us determine how we feel (but we will see this issue a little later).

John Worden, a professor at Keele University in the United Kingdom, has worked on time perception for more than thirty years, first in animals and later in humans, and has published more than 100 papers on the subject.

Wearden stated in an interview conducted for the Autonomous University of Barcelona that the perception of time changes according to age and according to what we do. In relation to age, the professor states that older people generally say that “time goes by faster as you get older”. And depending on what we are doing, our perception of time also varies. For short periods of time we use an internal clock, but for longer periods of time we use external influences or factors to quantify time (eg distance allows us to calculate the time it takes us to get somewhere).

Perception of time according to age and new events

Surely sometimes you fill the day with moments, with things to do (good things for you) and it makes you feel like time goes by faster. Especially when the moments are new.

This is especially noticeable in childhood (when everything is new and everything is about to be discovered); On the other hand, as we get older, there may not be as many memorable moments (in the sense of “newness”), but they continue to mark our perception of time.

Emotions and mood affect the perception of time

It’s not just age or memorable moments that affect how we perceive time. This also varies depending on the following parameters:
– The emotions.
– The state of mind.
But before we see how these elements affect us, let’s understand what the perception of time is if we are in a natural (and happy) state.

How do we perceive time in a natural state?

In the good moments we enjoy life, the present seems slow but pleasant. Our days fly by because we do many things, but we live them slowly (because it flows in time).

Thus, if we feel connected to the present moment (and at the same time relaxed), we are more likely to perceive time as passing very slowly.

The time when we are happy

If we are not only in a “natural” or flow state, but also having fun, being happy and having a really good time, then time flies by. And we don’t stop thinking, we just live. That’s why we feel like time flies because we’re having fun.

On the other hand, when we are bad (or facing other emotions), the perception of time changes. how?

Fear and anxiety and perception of time

When we are frightened and afraid, everything seems long; that is, we have an extended perception of time. This happens slowly to us because we are afraid and remain “hooked” on that fear, counting the minutes and hours for this state of discomfort to pass (and by fixing our attention on time, it passes more slowly for us).

On the other hand, when we are excited, anxious, or stressed, we feel that time passes faster because “we have so much to do and so little time” (or so we feel).

Boredom and sadness: time passes slowly

But what happens when the emotion is different? For example, when we are sad or bored. According to the psychologist Luis Muinho, the perception of the passage of time can help us understand whether a person is in a depressed (or sub-depressed) state.

In those cases when we are in a depressed, sad (or bored) state, a curious thing happens: time passes very slowly when we experience it, but very quickly when we remember it. Thus we feel that several months have flown by, although while we experienced them, they passed too slowly.

When we are bored, we are in a state of intense boredom, sad or depressed, time passes slowly, but later we remember it as if it passed very quickly.

The perception of time: a good indicator of our emotional state

The perception of time is a good emotional thermometer that tells us what we are like. If this perception changes, so do our emotions. Therefore, it can be a good indicator in psychotherapy, for example, or in the process of self-knowledge.

If you want to know how you are doing, ask yourself: am I in forced rhythm? Will it make things slower? If we learn to identify our own rhythm or time perception, we will be able to tell when our emotions are slightly off.

“What marks our mental health is our relationship with time.” Luis Moinho-

How to experience time in a healthy way?

Everyone has their own rhythm, their own internal clock, and circumstances that influence whether they perceive time as fast or slow. So this perception of time changes (also as we grow) and is a natural thing.

However, learning to live in the present moment and enjoy time without wanting it to rush or stop is good for our mental health.

Anxiety is a surplus of the future, and depression is a surplus of the past

In psychology it is said that anxiety is a surplus of the future and depression is a surplus of the past. And that mental health is “having enough present.”

For this reason, we advise you not to expect too much from tomorrow, because you may suffer from anxiety and not to remain installed in a past that no longer exists (because if the situation escalates, you can enter a depressive state). Also, remember that memory modifies our memories and idealizes them.

“Do you love life? Well, if you love life, don’t waste time because time is the good that life is made of. benjamin franklin-

Don’t fight the passage of time, learn to flow with it

In short, if you really want to live fully and in a peaceful way, it is best not to try to fight the passage of time. Time passes equally, whether we like it or not (and thankfully, because it tells us we are alive); so don’t obsess about whether it’s slow or fast for you, just enjoy it.

Flow with the times and unite with it; it is the only way to live fully and peacefully. In other words, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Mohammed Ali.-

Source: The Mind is Wonderful.-

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