How to Slow Down and Speed Up Time

One of the most fundamental aspects of survival in this modern age is learning how to slow down and speed up time. Whether it’s for hunting, escaping danger, or just practicing your meditative skills, mastering these powers will give you an upper hand over prey that doesn’t know what hit them.

This article will teach you how to slow down and speed up time. The “how to speed up time” is a survival skill that can be used in many different ways.

We’ve chosen to reprint a vintage essay each Sunday to assist our younger readers discover some of the greatest, evergreen jewels from the past, with our archives currently totaling over 3,500 items. The original version of this essay was published in August of 2014.

Take a look back over the previous few months as we near the end of the summer season. Is it as though your summer seemed to drag on forever, ebbing and flowing in a heated haze? Or did it feel like the past few months flew by?

Your response to that question will most likely be influenced by your age. If you’re a young buck, you’ll undoubtedly feel like the previous three months have been compressed into six months. If you’re older, you’re probably aware that your summer – like the rest of your year – appears to have passed you by in a blur.

Why does time appear to slow down when you’re young and then accelerate as you get older? You may have heard that this phenomena is due to the fact that each year represents a bigger proportion of your overall lifetime while you’re younger, making each year seem larger; one year equals 1/14 of your life when you’re fourteen, but only 1/40 when you’re forty.

That’s a great hypothesis, but our experience of time changes as we get older for a physiological reason. And if you grasp it, you may become a time wizard, speeding up or slowing down the passage of time, and even making your life seem longer than it is.

Experiencing Brain Time

Time is an unchanging dimension. “Clock time” may be measured objectively and split down into minutes, seconds, and nanoseconds. Even when we don’t have access to an external chronometer, our internal clocks frequently do a good job of keeping track of time; if I asked you to predict the time right now, you’d probably be close.

However, our perception of time is not always precise. Time may seem to compress or expand, speed up or slow down, depending on our circumstances. Dr. David Eagleman, a neurologist and a leading researcher on time perception, refers to this phenomena as “brain time,” and its measurements, unlike clock time, are very subjective.

Our sense of time is woven throughout our cerebral matter, unlike our other senses such as touch and taste, which are localized in particular sections of our brains. Time, according to Eagleman, is “metasensory” and “riding on top of all the others.” The information we take in regarding how our hours are spent isn’t raw data since our sense of time is inextricably linked to our emotions and memories. Instead, our brains filter information before exposing it to us, according to Eagleman:

The brain goes to great lengths to edit and provide you with this tale of what’s happening on out there and how quickly or slowly it occurs. What your brain tells you you see isn’t necessarily what you really see. It’s about putting together the greatest, most valuable tale about what’s going on in the world.

 

According to Eagleman, time is essentially “a mental creation.”

Is “Matrix” Time Real?

It’s helpful to start with what occurs to your “brain time” when you’re in a life-threatening scenario to grasp when, how, and why your brain changes your perception of time. If you’ve ever been near to death – been into a car accident, been in a battle, or fallen from a roof – you’ve probably felt time extend and everything proceed in slow motion, as in The Matrix. You most likely recalled the event in great detail thereafter.

Dr. Eagleman wanted to know whether people’s brains were indeed slowing down their vision of the world in these life-threatening circumstances, or if there was anything else going on. So he brought a bunch of people to the SCAD, one of the world’s scariest “amusement” attractions. Riders are launched into a 100-foot freefall on their backs. Those who attempt it usually find it to be a scary experience. Eagleman gave each of his volunteers a wristwatch to wear and instructed them to check it throughout their freefall. Under normal circumstances, the watch would flash a digital read-out of a number that was a split-second too rapid for the human eye to detect. Eagleman reasoned that since fear inhibits our vision of reality, the participants would be able to observe the number as it declined. None of them, however, were successful.

Eagleman asked the participants to picture their fall and how long it took after their encounter on the SCAD. They were able to properly predict the times of others’ falls, but when it came to calculating their own, they always thought it took 30 percent longer than it did.

Eagleman concluded from these findings that time does not slow down when we are in danger of losing our life. Instead, frightening events throw our amygdala — a memory and emotion-processing region of the brain – into overdrive, causing the brain to record much more information than usual. Because the brain creates such rich, complex memories of such times, when you look back on the event afterwards, there’s a lot more “footage” to go through than usual, giving the impression that it lasted much longer than it really.

Our Sense of Time and Novelty

Time will seem to stretch not just in life-threatening circumstances, but also anytime we come across anything new or do something new.

Eagleman had participants sit in front of a computer screen that repeatedly flashed the same picture of a shoe in another experiment. Every now and again, an image of a flower would break up the monotony. The flower seemed to linger on the screen longer than the shoes, although it really cycled through just as swiftly.

It’s possible that the flower appeared to linger because the participants were drawn to it by its novelty (more attention=more memory stored=perception of longer duration). However, it’s likely that the flower seemed to linger longer because the images of the shoes were compressed. When the brain is repeatedly exposed to the same stimulus, it doesn’t have to waste as much time and energy identifying them, thanks to a cognitive phenomena known as “repetition suppression.” When the brain meets something for the first time, it expends a significant amount of cognitive resources in order to make sense of it. The novelty of the stimulation causes the mind to record a great deal of information, making the encounter appear longer. With each exposure to the same signal, the amount of energy needed to detect it decreases, as does the length of time it seems to last; the brain develops little neural shortcuts that enable it to recognize the stimulus much more quickly. As a result, the shoe pictures would have looked to linger on the screen for a shorter time than they really did to the participants in the research, making the flash of an occasional flower appear longer in comparison.

 

When we come across predictable patterns, “repetition suppression” kicks in. The brain anticipates what is to come and does not have to work very hard to prepare for what is to come. When you see “1, 2, 3, 4…”, for example, your brain’s energy consumption spikes on #1, then plummets after it identifies the pattern.

But doesn’t it seem like time flies when you’re having a good time?

Eagleman’s findings may be perplexing since it seems to contradict common adages such as “Time flies while you’re having fun” and “The watched pot never boils.” Don’t fascinating and unusual events seem to hurry up rather than slow down the passage of time?

I asked Dr. Eagleman about this, and he told me that there are two kinds of time perception: prospective and retrospective. When you’re in the now and your brain is expecting what will happen next, you’re in prospective time. When you’re busy and a lot is going on, “your mind is no longer paying to time at that moment — you’re not checking your watch or clock — therefore time seems to be passing you by quickly.” If you’ve ever worked as a waiter on a busy night, you know how quickly your shift can fly by since your mind is preoccupied with serving clients and figuring out what your next responsibility is, rather than keeping track of the time.

In instances when there are no stimuli to engage your brain, the opposite of prospective time happens. “Your mind is profoundly attuned to time since you’re constantly checking your watch every 10 minutes or so” whether you’re in a dull meeting or on a lengthy trip. There’s nothing else to do except watch the minutes tick by, which makes time appear to move at a glacial pace.

You enter retrospective time whenever your mind thinks on what you’ve been doing (which occurs rather quickly). If you’ve been doing something monotonous and devoid of stimulus, your brain won’t have captured much “footage” from the event, and it will appear in your memory as a brief episode — a whiff of mental emptiness. When you think back on that tedious meeting or lengthy travel, it hardly registers in your mind.

Your mind, on the other hand, has enough of comprehensive material to go through when you think on a scary or unfamiliar encounter. “So must have taken a long time since I don’t generally remember that much information about occurrences,” your brain deduces.

As a result, time flies while you’re having a good time, but it stretches out in your memory.

How to Slow or Quicken Your Perception of Time and Become a Time Wizard

You’ve undoubtedly been wondering about how this study pertains to your own life as you’ve been reading along, and now you finally have an answer to the question we asked at the start: why does time appear to slow down while you’re young and speed up as you grow older?

Young boy flying kite in field next to farm illustration.

Everything is fresh to you when you’re young; you’re always trying to figure out how the world works and learning the principles that govern nature and society. And you’re always experiencing “firsts,” such as your first day of school, driving for the first time, getting your first real job, and so on. With all of this new information, your brain is creating the kinds of rich, deep memories that lengthen your impression of time.

 

When you’re an adult, on the other hand, you’ve pretty much seen it all. You’ve figured out life’s rhythms, and your day-to-day activities are probably lot more regular and predictable. Your brain has no incentive to waste energy documenting your mundane and routine morning commute, ceremonial eating of a ham sandwich at your desk at work, and nighttime Game of Thrones viewing. Your brain thinks, “Nothing to see here,” and turns off the camera. As a result, there’s very little film to reflect back on each week, month, and year, and your life appears to have gone in a haze.

Illustration man at desk, time is flying.

Those who live a routine, repetitive existence are struck with a double whammy: time appears to drag on interminably in the middle of their tedious day-to-day lives (prospective time). However, when people look back on their life (retrospective time), it seems like time has flown by!

However, such a destiny is not predetermined. The fascinating aspect of this study is that it demonstrates how readily time can be controlled – or, as Eagleman puts it, how “rubbery” it is. You have the ability to slow down (or speed up) the passage of time in your mind. You can’t make your life last forever, but you can make it seem that way. All you have to do is add some originality into it on a regular basis. Consider the last time you had a fantastic, action-packed trip. “We were only here a week, but it seems like we’ve been gone forever,” you stated at the conclusion of the journey, dimes to donuts. Your perspective of time slowed as a result of your new trip. We may still search out new vistas and “firsts” as we get older.

Man hiking climbing up mountain illustration.

You don’t have to do anything major to extend your time, such as travel. According to Eagleman, even little adjustments that “shake up your brain circuitry” can suffice. He suggests that you attempt things like:

  • Changing the wrist on which you wear your watch
  • Changing the way your furniture is arranged at home
  • Using an alternative mode of transportation to go to work

Once you start searching for them, you’ll discover a plethora of methods to shake things up and rekindle your young curiosity and desire to explore. 

When you reach the end of your days and reflect on your life, you can either feel like you were only 18 yesterday and that the decades that followed flew by in the blink of an eye, or you can play back a seemingly endless tape of rich footage of your many adventures, interesting everyday life, and wealth of knowledge you accumulated. If you choose the latter, instead of witnessing your life rush before your eyes, you will appreciate the gratification of seeing it develop slowly and feeling as if you have squeezed multiple lives into one.

Ted Slampyak created the illustrations. 

 

 

Watch This Video-

The “how to slow down time scientifically” is a guide that walks you through the process of slowing down and speeding up time. It’s based on scientific principles, so it’s not only fun but also educational.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make time go slower?

A: The only way to make time go slower is by playing longer.

Is it possible to speed up time?

A: This is possible on the PC version of Beat Saber. You can either use programs like SweetFX and ENB or Riva Tuner Statistics Server to speed up time in-game, but it will not affect your run times when you upload them.

Is it possible to slow down time?

A: Yes, you can do this by using the pause button in Beat Saber.

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