Time is a strange thing. When we’re bored, it can seem to go more slowly, and that’s doubly true during a lockdown when many of us have nothing to do.
Yet when we’re caught up in something that demands our attention, time can seem to fly. That’s because when we’re bored, we tend to check the time more frequently, making us more aware of it, while if we’re engaged in something interesting, we can lose track of time.
You’ve probably noticed that when you were a child, time seemed to stretch out. As an adult, your days may seem long at the time, but a year as a whole can seem to go by so quickly. Before you know it, it’s time for New Year celebrations, and you’re left wondering where the time went.
Well, there could be a good reason for this that isn’t just ageing. Scientists have found that whenever you take part in a new activity, your brain becomes more attentive, recording more of your experiences than usual. That means, when you later look back on those periods, there’s plenty of material in your brain, creating the effect of time moving more slowly. But when you do things that you’ve done before or that follow a familiar routine, your brain switches off. There is less material to recall about those days, and so with hindsight, they can seem to have whizzed by.
So grown ups face the double blow of their days dragging on because they have so many routines, but their months and years race by. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this. You can deliberately tinker with your brain’s perception of time, making your days more fulfilling, which will make your life feel longer and much more fulfilling.
All you need to do is to add to your adult life that element that was common when you were young: learning new things, or more accurately, novelty itself. We’re not talking here about going back to school just trying something different. This can be anything from having something different for breakfast, reading a book by a new author or checking out the latest brand new online casinos.
To be clear, this isn’t about being reckless. For instance, if you are short of money or have had problems with gambling in the past, we certainly wouldn’t recommend you splash out on new hobbies or spend your time on betting sites. The point is to make little changes and try out new ways of living. It’s also a good idea to focus on new things that are active, rather than passive, as these will enhance the effect of making your days more fulfilled and give your brain more to think about.
So why not make a list right now. Think of thirty things that you can do differently and over the next month, do one every day, and see what a difference this can make to how you see your life.