Why does time pass faster than life

Sense of time: This is why time passes faster in old age

Albert Einstein already recognized that that sense of time does not always match the actual elapsed time. To explain relativity, he said: If you sit with a girl for two hours, you think it's a minute. But if you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours. The sense of time doesn't just depend on what we're doing or how we're feeling right now. As people get older, they have the feeling that time is just racing by. Years seem to fly by, weeks shrink to days, days to what feels like minutes. Scientists have investigated this phenomenon and have not only been able to confirm it, but justify it. Why the sense of time runs faster in old age and what you can do to slow down time a little ...

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➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Sense of time: time is not always the same time

Time is one measurable and constant Unit. A second is a second, a day is a day, a year is a year. There is nothing to be shaken about for the time being. How this time is felt individually, however, can sometimes be enormous differences.

Imagine if a good friend invited you to visit the opera. He is a big fan and absolutely enthusiastic about operas and singing, you can do little or nothing with it and find the music terrible, but for his sake still say yes and go with them. At the end of the performance, your friend will find it hard to believe that it is already over - for you, however, the hours will drag on like Chewing gum under a shoe sole.

The personal sense of time depends on numerous factors: What are you doing right now? How do you feel about it? Who are you surrounding yourself with right now? Even if you are rested and well rested, or if you are exhausted and completely exhausted, your perception of time affects your perception of time. You can observe this, for example, when working on yourself. If you are in top shape and in a good mood, the eight hours are over quickly, but during the night you haven't closed your eyes and feel miserable if the hands don't want to move at all.

Scientists who deal with this therefore often differentiate between actual time and perceived time. The clocks tick at the same speed for everyone, but it often feels very different. Many people notice this effect, especially with increasing age.

Youth seemed endless, a year was an eternal period, and in retrospect the younger years seemed to be much longer. In old age, the years just drag by, having just celebrated the 50th birthday, the 60th is already being planned. The legitimate question arises: Where has the time gone?

Doppler effect: why the future looks closer

Children, how time flies! The time goes bylike in flightsay those who are having a good time. Those who, on the other hand, have unpleasant things ahead of them often think they are Time would stand still. Time always passes quickly.

Eugene Caruso and his colleagues from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago would also say “true”. But they also say: events that lie in the future often appear much closer to us than those from the past. The so-called by the two researchers temporal doppler effect also explains why the previous vacation seems so far away to us so quickly.

The concept of the Doppler effect actually comes from acoustics. There he describes it physical phenomenonthat the siren on an ambulance sounds much higher when the ambulance is approaching you - and lower when it is driving away from you. But it is the same with the subjective perception of time:

What lies ahead of us has a short effect; what lies behind us, a long time ago.

When the psychologists examined the phenomenon of the temporal Doppler effect, they found time and again that their subjects had the Past and future not rated equally.

You yourself may be familiar with this from your everyday life and typically on a Wednesday: By then, at the latest, some people are already talking about it weekend or feverishly: "Man, the week will be over soon ..."think my colleagues. Strictly speaking, they are just as far away from the future weekend as they are from the previous one.

In the experiments of Eugene Caruso, in turn, the subjects were one week before Valentine's day when asked about Valentine's Day - and this already seemed very close to them. A week later you were interviewed again, and lo and behold: Valentine's Day seemed a long time ago.

You can even benefit from the temporal Doppler effect: If the Deadline once again seems much too close, correct your perception thanks to this knowledge. Usually there is more than enough time, even if it feels different. Instead of wanting to get everything done quickly and making mistakes, you can proceed in an organized and structured manner in order to make the best possible use of the remaining time.

Reasons for a faster sense of time in old age

In the meantime it is no longer a guess, but a scientifically proven fact that the sense of time changes with age. Researchers have addressed the question in various studies and consistently came to the conclusion that the perceived Time passes faster with increasing age.

There are two different explanations for how the accelerated sense of time arises in old age: The first comes from Adrian Bejan, professor at Duke University. He explains the shortened perception of time in old age through one Change in stimulus processing. In childhood, adolescence and also in young adulthood, the brain records and processes more impressions in a short period of time; it becomes a larger number mental imagesas Bejan calls them.

Through this Variety of impressions the temporal perception is extended. However, with age, fewer stimuli are processed, the brain slows down, and a period of time seems to pass faster. There is thus an inversely proportional relationship between stimulus processing and perceived time.

At the same time, Bejan says that the many new stimuli and first impressions that are collected in younger years make the sense of time appear longer. Similar reasoning to explain the Change in the sense of time also provides the German psychologist Marc Wittmann.

Most of all he sees them Memories as the cause for a faster sense of time in old age. New experiences and things that we experience for the first time are burned deeply into the memory. Take the test yourself: remember your first big trip - either alone or with your partner. You can probably remember a lot more, including smaller details, even though this vacation was a lot longer ago than other vacation destinations you have been to.

It works the same way for all the first few times that occur very often in youth. The older the age, the more less really new is experienced, the memories are less memorable, larger periods of time are simply summarized and some things seem to be rather unimportant and are completely thrown from memory. In retrospect, the young years with all the memories seem much longer than the years in old age.

Changing the sense of time: How to stop the fast pace of old age

Part of the blame that time goes by faster in old age is borne by them routine. Everything has been there before, everyday life has the processes firmly under control and there are no innovations or changes in sight. This is exactly where you can start to slow down the sense of time a little.

The easiest way: Break out of everyday life and the comfort zone. Create new memories that will stay in your memory for a long time - continue to provide for unknown impressions, new experiences, first times even in old age.

You stand by almost endless possibilities to disposal. Refurbish your home from scratch, travel to a continent you've never seen before, take a course and learn skills that are completely new and unfamiliar to you. New contacts and an expanded circle of friends can also slow down your sense of time. As long as it's new to you, it's a good idea.

It can also help if you keep your brain on its toes in old age and thus increase stimulus processing. Give your thinking apparatus something to do, challenge it, provide variety and activity with ever new impressions.

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