Do you remember when you were a small child and a day seemed like an eternity? I can remember days when it seemed I had all the time in the world to do the things I wanted to do. Now, as an adult, I find myself almost desperate for time. I see this in the other adults around me, it's as if we all feel the wheel going faster, and faster, and faster - and we don't know how to get off. It's effecting our health, our ability to be present, our well-being, our sense of adventure, of self, of security - and this "rushing" is devastating to our relationships.
What would your life be like it you didn't feel rushed, frazzled, behind schedule, late, or pressed for time? Imagine a leisurely life where you felt like time was moving along slowly, and you were able to sit back and enjoy it? Well, here is the funny thing about time. Our 'sense of time' is not like our other senses (touch, taste, smell, sight & hearing) - It's not really a 'sense' at all - it's a perception.
When we receive lots of new information, when we are curious or trying something new, it takes our brains a while to process it all. The longer this processing takes, the longer that period of time feels. Conversely, if your brain doesn’t have to process lots of new information, when we make assumptions or when we get stuck in a rut, time seems to move faster, so the same amount of time will actually feel shorter than it would otherwise. This is great news because it means that you can control your perception of time, and essentially, speed it up or slow it down. (Pretty cool - it's almost like you have a superpower!)
Want to try it out? Do you want to make 2017 the LONGEST (most relaxing, adventurous, connected) year of your life? It's easy! Here are four target zones, and how to use them to change your perception of time:
The way you think
When we make assumptions we are following a 'rut' of assumed information in our brain. When we are curious, we allow for our brain to be surprised. Surprises make us pay attention and heighten our senses, thus making our perception of time longer. I think the most impactful way that we can practice this is with our primary relationships (Plus - it has extra side-benefits!). Make a choice to wonder about your spouse, your kids, your boss, your co-workers. None of us are the same person today that we were yesterday. Life is constantly changing us all, and yet we tend to assume that we know exactly what a person is thinking, feeling, or how they will act or respond. Instead, try being curious and surprised. Everyday when my husband comes home from work, I think, Who are you, today?, How has Life changed the way you think, believe, respond? (The side benefits of this practice include emotionally, physical and mental intimacy, but that's a post for another day).
Focus (to receive more data in the moment)
When you do something, do it completely with all your senses. Next time you sit down to a meal notice, are you fully present? What are you tasting? Smelling? What is the presentation of your plate? Your food? Your table? What are the sounds around you? How do your clothes feel against your skin? What is the temperature of the fork in your hand? We always have an abundant about of data to perceive, but most of the time we choose to turn it off. Change that. Open it up. Choose to live a life juicy with details!
This one is easy, just change easy everyday things in your life by a little tiny bit. Take a new route to work, use your left hand instead of your right hand, go to a new place to get coffee, listen to a new station in the car, walk a different way to your desk through the office, go stand outside on your porch for 30 seconds with your coffee and welcome the day, put away electronics earlier. The list goes on and on - just be aware (and get silly) to make your life just a little bit new and different everyday.
Trying new things/adventures
This, in my opinion, is the most fun target zone to play with. This is where you get to explore who you REALLY are and what makes you feel alive and thriving. What is unique to you that lights up your soul? What fills you up with energy and allows you to feel like you can conquer the world? To begin, make a list of new things that you've always wanted to do or try. Then, one by one, begin to check things off your list. Check out this post from 2013 for over 500 ideas of new things to try. This practice will not only make your perception of time longer, but it will help you become more YOU, and will create a life abundant with things you love!
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
She has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
Licensed and Insured