7 Ways to Slow Down Your Perception of Time

Time flying awayI’m 62. I’m supposed to have a big belly. I’m supposed to be taking at least four prescription drugs a day (PDF). I’m supposed to be lining up for the early bird special at the Denny’s on Lincoln. I’m not supposed to be lifting weights, sprinting, and beating younger guys at Ultimate Frisbee. I shouldn’t be snowboarding, starting exciting new business ventures, or going shirtless in the Southern California sun without sunblock. I’m supposed to be set in my ways, not open to new evidence. I’m supposed to be remembering my younger, better days as time slips away and I descend ever more rapidly into frailty, financial insolvency, and death. Time is supposed to speed up as I age, not slow down.

Isn’t that the conventional wisdom? Whenever a person gets old, or even “old,” they complain about the growing rapidity of time. Weeks seem shorter. The endless summers of childhood become one or two sweaty months of having to wear work clothes in 90 degree weather. The holidays come and go before you realize it. Time used to go slow enough that you could run out of things to do and actually get bored. Now, most people complain about not having the time to do the stuff they claim to want but never really pursue.

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As you all know, I’m committed to living well over living long. I’ll take a long life, but I’m more interested in compressing my morbidity—the end-of-life inability to take care of oneself and appreciate the good things this world offers. If a long life means being hooked up to life support for the last ten years, I’ll pass.

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An important piece of living well as you age that most never consider is taking advantage of the fact that time perception is entirely a construction of the brain. By slowing down the perceived passage of time, you seemingly have more of it and live longer—and better.

Stop thinking of time as money (even if it is).

Increasing value breeds scarcity, even if it’s just the perception of scarcity. So when we think of our time as money, our time gets more valuable—and more scarce. And instead of packing our schedules full of interesting experiences, we work longer to make more money. Reading for pleasure becomes wasteful. Sitting down to dinner with the family is an extravagance you have trouble justifying. The time we do take as leisure becomes more harried with worry we could be doing more.

Embrace novelty.

Time passes slowly for children in part because everything they’re seeing, doing, experiencing, smelling, hearing, and tasting is new and takes up a larger portion of their memory. They’ve only just arrived on this plane of existence and their brains are working overtime to process an abundance of novelty. Each experience is fascinating.

Compare that with the average adult working a 9-5. They get up at the same time every morning. They eat the same breakfast. They take the same route to work. They sit down at their desk and perform the same tasks they performed yesterday and every day prior. Everything is routine. The brain doesn’t have to work to process any new information or remember the specifics. It’s the same thing day in, day out. They can’t really remember what they did one, two, three days ago—not because they’re going senile at age 33 but because every day is the same and the brain literally doesn’t see the need to retain the memory of each. This is precisely when days slip into months into years and before you know it you’re coming up on 40 and The Simpsons is on season 26 and that new Star Wars movie is already out and is it really 2016 in less than a week?

One researcher devised a cool method to test this concept in the lab. He showed people a slideshow of identical images of a brown shoe interspersed with the occasional “oddball” image of a flower. Though the flower image spent the same amount of time on the screen as each individual shoe image the slideshow, participants swore it remained onscreen for much longer than the others. Other researchers have confirmed the “oddball” effect; time lengthens in the presence of novelty.

It turns out that “with repeated presentations of a stimulus, a sharpened representation or a more efficient encoding is achieved in the neural network that codes for the object, affording lower metabolic costs.” In other words, doing the same routine every day barely registers in the brain. You don’t notice it. You don’t remember doing it. Thus, entire days are lost.

Novelty can be objectively exciting things like going to a drum circle at the beach, skydiving, rock climbing, or taking a salsa class. But small changes work, too. Take a strange route to work. Take your bike to work. Try a new restaurant every week instead of eating at the same diner.

Work smarter.

We’re more productive, sure. We have dozens of high-tech tools to help us multitask and communicate with anyone at a moment’s notice. We can find the most arcane bit of knowledge in under a minute. It’s all saving us time, right?

Except we’re working more than ever. And when we’re not working, we’re thinking about work. Or we’re turning our leisure time into work by trying to “optimize” it. We tell ourselves we’re saving time, but we’re really chasing the optimization dragon. Few ever condense work to a few productive hours each day and spend the bulk of their time enjoying the moment. It just doesn’t happen. Instead, we just use our productivity gains to spend even more time working.

Avoid multitasking. Stick to the task at hand. Don’t go flitting off into Wikipedia. Don’t have so many tabs open that the favicons disappear. Multitasking only makes time perception speed up, and it doesn’t even improve productivity.

Check email twice a day. If email’s a big part of your day, do not keep the inbox open on your browser. You’re going to look at it every ten minutes, dreading/hoping for incoming messages. It will rule your day and compress your time. Instead, designate two 10-20 minute blocks per day to check your email. People can text, call, or ping you if it’s truly urgent (wife giving birth, a death, an arrest, an accident).


Everyone knows that the faster you move through space, the slower time unfolds. We see this in sci-fi movies about astral explorers aging more slowly on interstellar journeys, but there’s no reason it doesn’t also work on a local, micro level, even if just barely and mostly imperceptibly. Try it out if you don’t believe me.

Spend one day on the couch mainlining the latest Netflix show. Watch an entire season of something you haven’t seen before, so it retains novelty. Get up only to use the bathroom.

Spend one day exploring the city on foot. Walk briskly, bike, whatever you want. Just physically move through space without stopping.

Which one took longer? Which was a fuller, richer day? They both introduced novelty, so that shouldn’t be confounding the results. The only difference was physical movement.


Scientists think our relationship to technology has sped up our perception of time. In a series of human experiments (results awaiting peer-review), researchers discovered that people who are constantly connected to technology perceive time to flow faster. What was actually 50 minutes felt like an hour to the tech addicts, who were more anxious and stressed about time running out than the folks who used technology less.

Plan trips.

Doesn’t this conflict with “Be spontaneous”? No. Bear with me. If you’ve got a big trip coming up, rather than wait til the last minute to book the AirBNB and decide where you’ll actually be going, give it some thought. This doesn’t mean you have to plan everything down to the last detail. You don’t have to decide now where to have breakfast on the sixth day. Planning a bit, even if it’s just a skeleton plan, gives you something to look forward to. It extends and enriches the trip beyond the trip itself. You’ll spend the four or five months eagerly anticipating the trip. You’ll spend the two to three weeks actually on the trip. And you’ll have the rest of your life to savor the memories. Throwing together a rough itinerary several months out, one that leaves plenty of room for improvisation, can really increase the density of your experience and thus slow your perception of time.

Go into nature.

We’re slaves to the clock. In the wilderness, there are none. Rather than seconds and minutes, out there time is measured in seasons, sunrises and sunsets, temperature changes. It’s a much grander thing embedded in the landscape itself. The linear tick of a digital display cannot hope to contain it.

How’s time passing for you these days? Faster than before? Slower? If you’ve discovered any other methods to slow down the subjective perception of time, let me know down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

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TAGS:  mental health

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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116 thoughts on “7 Ways to Slow Down Your Perception of Time”

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  1. Well written! Thank you for my daily dose of motivation.

  2. Hello Mark.

    Very good article, especially for a time obsessed like me. Something that really helps me to enjoy a day is to have multiple and different activities, even if they are short. (Example : Hiking, then reading a chapter of a good book, working one hour on a personal project, etc).


  3. Fantastic post! Your mention of embracing novelty, moving, and working smarter reminded me of neuroplasticity research and applications.

    Though conventional “wisdom” has yet to catch on, studies have shown that neurons (long believed incapable of regeneration) are being generated constantly in certain brain areas.

    Pioneering scientists in neuroplasticity have identified key supports to optimize the brain’s capacity to regenerate, rewire itself and change body-mind patterns. These include: paying close attention, embracing novelty, engaging in physical exercise and existing within an enriched environment.

    These supports truly do alter our experience of life and time.

    1. Thank you for contributing your thoughts – I look forward to reading your comments each day.

  4. Hey, Mark

    From one 62 year young to another, thanks for the reminder. I do most of the things you
    mention.. (I especially like preparing in advance, itinerary and all, for a trip) because they do seem to help time move more slowly.

    Love this! I’ve always said that the one thing we can never get back or get more of, is time. All your ideas are right on for making the journey seem longer/sweeter.

    1. Another member of the 62 year old … er I mean young … club here! People are surprised at how young I look for my age. However … my lower abs don’t look like Mark’s unfortunately lol.

  5. I’m turning 50 on my next birthday. I’m supposed to need reading glasses, have a few aches and pains, and shop in certain age appropriate stores. But I think that’s ridiculous. I have always taken decent care of myself, but I can honestly say I feel better and have more energy now than 20 years ago. I’m also more adventurous and having way more fun. Love your attitude Mark!

    1. I remember the first and only time my hubby and I went to Las Vegas. We were only going for three days. Hubby worried it wouldn’t be long enough. I told him by the end of three days, he’s be screaming to get out of Vegas. He was…

  6. I appreciate your enthusiasm for life. Although I have many health problems. I dwell on what I CAN do and not what I can’t. I enjoy your post and the comments.

  7. great post – my pet theory is that our perception of time is relative to our age – i.e. at age two, one year is half our life, but at age fifty, one year is 2% of our life – each progressive day becomes a smaller and smaller time segment of our lives… so it appears to us that each day is going by faster and faster the older we get…

    and not to split hairs Mark, maybe I’m misunderstanding your comment – but if the tech addicts felt like 50 minutes took an hour, that would indicate the opposite of what you are proposing… like the kids thinking a couple hour walk takes forever…

    1. I’ve heard that too, about the percentage of our life. I think it’s a great explanation.

      Regarding the “tech addicts” comment. You actually quoted it around the wrong way. Mark said the tech addicts felt like it was an hour, when it was in fact only 50 minutes. You just mixed up the times 🙂

  8. i was just thinking the other day that rainy days are so annoying. i don’t have that much money to spend on travel or novel experiences, but i am lucky in that i live in an area with a lot of beautiful parks. i just need to be on a bike/hike and i’m good.

    i lived in a tropical country for 7 years, but just basically having a hot season and a rainy season made it feel like one long day. i need the 4 seasons to really stretch out time. that and lots of holiday decorations in the elementary school i work at.

  9. Good article and very appropriate .one thing that helps me is to focus on is being in the present ,when doing our daily chores enjoy them in a meditative sort of way.for those men that wash the pots feel the temperature of the water.inbetween our tasks pause,if only for 10 seconds to savour the moment.if not our busy day can just blurr into one endless task.
    May the force be with you.ps I’m 64 .and enjoying paleo

    1. Right on Peter,
      We can extend time by living in the moment and paying attention to the details in our action.

    2. I do that too, experience what you are doing….. sometimes I wash the dishes by hand just so I can feel the soap, water, where the stuck on food is….. makes a mundane task into a sensual experience that I will enjoy, the “chore” is gone and a pleasant experience is added to life.

  10. Excellent and, um, very timely.

    I’m older than Mark, and can report that each year brings more pressure to spend time thinking about the shortness of time left. Now, it’s good to appreciate each day, to wake up celebrating the fact that I did so, but focusing on the scarcity of days to come is not, I feel, at all helpful. It makes time speed up.

    When I was 10, or 30, or maybe even 62, there seemed to be an abundance of years still to come. Enough so that I couldn’t really think about them except as a hazy, endless “continuing-ness.” But as I’ve gotten older, more and more of what I read, hear,, and am told is anchored to an increasingly precise calculation of years remaining. If you’re not here yet, you may not fully realize what I mean. For example, I have life expectancy tables thrust at me by my doctors and financial advisors as priority considerations in making decisions. The other day, I spotted myself hesitating to buy a Vitamix (for my primal smoothies, of course) because I’ll never “use it up.” I find myself calibrating whether to fix my car, or start a new project, or get a cat to whether I will outlive it or not.

    It’s all around me, this kind of thinking, which makes it a constant temptation to own it. In other words, it gets harder to take your first piece of advice, to not think about time as money. Or preferably, not to think about time at all!

    I’d add to your list this thought: give up goals. Goals are about ends, and things to get done. But time perception lengthens or vanishes when I have no thought of getting something “done.” I’ll never get it all done. There is no done, as long as I’m still alive. There’s only “more.” (Or not more.) “More” brings back that feeling of hazy endless continuing-ness.

    Like Mark, I want to spend my days being often vertical, and mostly alert. His article inspires me to recognize how much I want to leave, eventually, in the midst of a glorious mess of unfinished ideas, projects and activities.

    1. i have maybe 30 years left if i kick the bucket at 80. 30 years ago i was 20- that was like yesterday. once my mom died, i saw life differently. i know i will be gone before the blink of an eye. what this means is that i want to live with even more integrity. it makes me nicer on the internet.

    2. Such wonderful things to contemplate…I have many many years to do so. I love your summation at the end:

      “I want to spend my days being often vertical, and mostly alert. His article inspires me to recognize how much I want to leave, eventually, in the midst of a glorious mess of unfinished ideas, projects and activities.”

      Sounds pretty darn intriguing to me. It’s a perspective I’ve never considered, but one that I will. Thanks!

    3. Kay. Thank-you for your words of wisdom! I especially like what you said about goals. Makes a lot of sense.

      1. Kay, get a Stick Blender…they are much easier to clean than a Vitamix. Drop of soap in a glass and run it for 3 seconds and rinse. Voila!!

        Loved your thoughts on ageing. Give up goals? You betcha.

    4. Thank you for this. Your suggestion to do away with goals, and to just want “more” is so great! I’m working on a new model for daily life where I take in stimulation from the world around me, process it, and give it back to the world as a creation of some sort. Even straightening my house can be seen in that light. It takes away the sense of an end point and makes it all into a dance.

      I also love your point that the ideal is to die with lots of projects in motion. Someone near to me died recently and we were bemoaning the fact that he had so many plans that could now never happen. Suddenly I realized how great that is to die with plans and things you’re looking forward to.

    5. What a beautiful comment. I realize I’m coming to this discussion very late, but I’m reading this because Im gathering ideas on this subject. Im a 59-year old woman, looking 60 in the face, and I just loved your insights. I loved Mark’s post also — so well done and so very helpful- but I just wanted to let you know that your comment on his post really touched me. So thanks.

  11. Mark, thanks for the informative encouraging article. It’s just what I needed to read today!

  12. I loved this post! I am 76 & feel & look good. Exercise every day, eat right, try to be grateful for everything. Take no Rx drugs for heart or BP. I have good genes, yes, but I attribute it mostly to a lifetime of exercise & eating right. Time does go quickly, but I try to make the most of every moment. Went to Australia & New Zealand recently by myself for two weeks & had a wonderful time. I am very fortunate & very grateful!

      1. I thought “!?!” would imply my sarcasm.
        I suppose it should have included a winky face emoji.
        Tough crowd.

        1. I got it, Beth. I don’t go in much for emoticons, but I was being sarcastic/funny right back. No offense intended.

    1. Yep, how true. The world would be a better place if we all just live and let live.

  13. What, an article on slowing your perception of time, yet no mention of meditation or cannabis????

    1. I just returned from Thailand. I train martial arts twice a day. Do not use a clock. I am awakened by roosters crowing. I do not use mobile device, I use my laptop during rest periods. I learned how to prepare canna-butter with coconut oil, it is the best medicine for resting and meditating/dreaming. Resting is part of being an athlete, it is not negotiable. I am back in the US seeking employment for the coming year, and return to the Land of Smiles asap. My goal is to retire over there, the Thai people are good at “slowing down time”. Also avoid traffic on my scooter, traffic and the modern world are sources of incredible stress! I have abstained from the canna-butter to prepare for employment! LOL!

  14. I have definitely “felt” the perceived “acceleration” of time. I just turned 37; far too young to be worried about time, eh? I’ve got some perspective to re-gain. A great article, at any point in life. Thank you, Mark!

  15. “This is precisely when days slip into months into years and before you know it you’re coming up on 40 and The Simpsons is on season 26 and that new Star Wars movie is already out and is it really 2016 in less than a week.”

    I am turning 40 in a week and besides overhauling my eating strategy and methodology on fitness the speed at which time seems to seep through my fingers is concerning. This article was well timed and informative.

    Happy New Year cave men and cave women…here’s to a great year

  16. Great article. I agree.
    I’m 64, no belly, 5’11 and 175 lbs. No heart problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Move and out a lot. Plenty of money, no insolvency. Live back and forth in Florida and Boston area. Going to Park City, Utah next week with all my kids and their families for lots of activities. Getting old is in the head as well.
    Lot of great points.

  17. Fantastic stuff and so insightful.

    It is very easy to forget things like this and that is exactly why we need people like Mark to keep reminding us.

    Someone once told me ‘if you know it but you don’t do it, then you don’t know it!’ Keep on reminding us please Mark until we truly ‘know it’ by the evidence of our actions, after all, repetition is the mother of skill!

  18. Amen! I appreciate EVERY word! Much thanks for the excellent words of wisdom!

  19. When training, especially in sprints, in my mind I don’t count the actual seconds but much slower. So that it tricks my mind into thinking I’ve. only been sprinting 15 seconds but actually it’s 30 or 40 seconds.
    It works well, especially on VO2 maxes.

    1. Not only that. You just ran 200 yds in 15 seconds. A new world record. See the paradox.

      1. There is no paradox. Only the man made number you associate time with. Put your waterwings on next time you reply.

  20. Thanks for this post mark – I’ve shared this on my facebook with a strict warning for people not to “like” it unless they’ve actually read it, and i will be checking who’s actually read it with followup interviews.

  21. It’s truly an illusion that you can work when you want to.

    The workplace is so competitive now.
    The visual of the guy at the office, everything’s dark except the light in his office, engaged in a project, unable to leave the office, as this HAS to be finished. It’s not his call.

    I don’t think MOST people work long hours because they want to. They have to. Employers are going get rid of anyone who puts their private time over doing “what it takes” as an employee.

    “Workaholics” are just people who are being worked hard by their employers. It’s not a choice.

    If you have a job where you can call the shots, leave when you want, you are very lucky.

    The people who don’t have to work, they are even more lucky. There is obviously a HUGE connection between LOW STRESS and longevity/good health.

    1. I agree with you.
      So many people are just doing what they must to keep their heads above water or to support their families.
      And at the same time, there can be joy found in that day to day grind. Sure, maybe it’s not in the workplace, but you can find happiness in knowing that you can support yourself and/or loved ones.
      Or like Mark mentioned, find a way to add variety to spice up your days: take a different route to work, picnic outdoors on your lunch hour, read for pleasure in the am or pm.
      Some of us have to get more creative, but we don’t have to be miserable. Happiness is a choice.

      1. I think “happiness” is odd. Humans are animals, and animals don’t seek out being “happy”. I just don’t go around being “happy”. Usually the experience of being happy is connected to doing something well, enjoying something, etc. But it’s not an infinite state.

        Usually I am up at 4am for work, leave about 5 or 5:30, and get home at 7 or 8. I don’t think anyone would choose to live like this. 90% of the time, there is no lunch or break. It’s a long day. When I come home, I am exhausted.

        1. It may be important to note that I didn’t say happiness was infinite; I said it was a choice.
          I have many things in my life right now that were not part of my plan, but I’m choosing to find the good things to focus on, control what I can, and allow myself to ride out the current when I can’t.
          Mark has spoken of gratitude before. Many people are not grateful for anything either. But you can always find something to be grateful for. I’m not Pollyanna by nature. Gratitude is also a choice.

        2. Maybe your definition of “happiness” needs to change. Deep contentment with one’s self and surroundings is where it’s at. It’s also more achievable. This is where gratitude comes in–appreciation for what we do have rather than wishful thinking about what we don’t have.

        3. I think the most important thing is to be honest with oneself. Being true to what is important to oneself.
          For me, it wouldn’t be good to accept the unacceptable or to try to be happy with things that don’t make me happy.
          I think the things that make us uncomfortable are not in line with who and what we are. I might not be able to change everything that affects me, but knowing what doesn’t jive with my insides is important to me.
          It is going against the grain, to be content with one’s surroundings, if it’s not in line with what one is. Wanting something better is what motivates me. “Better” doesn’t necessarily mean more money, although having money is a tool, and can allow for forms of freedom, such as moving off the grid or not having to work so much.

    2. I wonder if that’s really the case or if its because so many are afraid they will lose their jobs if they set boundries with their employers. Occasional overtime is sometimes necessary. Constant overtime is poor planning on the managers’ part.

      1. Actually, it isn’t. Employers will have their full timers work more, than hire another employee.
        People think employers make decisions with the welfare of the employees in mind, but it’s not the case.
        Most managers get some kind of bonus based on what they save the department yearly. So if they pay you less and work you more, they show MORE productivity at a lower cost.
        But I agree, most people won’t set a limit because if they do, the company will find someone else who will work the hours. I don’t know what field others work in, but in mine, there is someone right behind you, waiting to take your job.
        We had students and they’d flatter the bosses and apply for YOUR job. There was no shame, no holding back. It was really something. The last full time job I had, the place got rid of all of us, and replaced us with cheaper people right out of school. Experience meant nothing.

        1. I get what you’re saying. They tried something similar where I work. Fortunately the general manger noticed that the “savings” in manufacturing led to an increase in in warranty repairs. He decided experience had value after all. Too bad other companies don’t have someone comparing those numbers before making that kind of decision.

        2. Yep, the modern work life really cuts into things. I find I have to crunch everything else, but still try to exercise and eat right.
          On weekends, I tend to cook for the week.

  22. Great stuff in this article, and in the replies too.
    I was thinking about time compression not so long ago when a song came on the radio. It was one that I love and listened to it lots about 20 years ago, by Pink Floyd. It reminded me of the last 10 or so years of my life, ‘running’ (and other things) again thanks to my recent discovery of primal living.

    “Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

    So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again.
    The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”

      1. Interesting. It actually speeds time for me. Sometimes it becomes timeless. But an hour meditation feels like 2 minutes if I’m really deep into it.

    1. Ah, the greatest 43 minutes ever put on vinyl. Thanks for sharing that.

      Everything under the sun is in tune
      But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

  23. Great post Mark. I think this may be the first hint you have given as to why you devote so much energy and time to growing and expanding your business pursuits. But perhaps you can devote an entire post as to why you don’t just “retire” as far as your business pursuits are concerned.

    One more little thing. “Everyone knows that the faster you move through space, the slower time unfolds. We see this in sci-fi movies about astral explorers aging more slowly on interstellar journeys…”

    I think this may have more to do with relativistic time dilation than the psychological perception of time. But your point is certainly not affected by this.

  24. Great post, I love it. I just had an exciting and fun experience for the first time in a long time (don’t get to do much now that I have a baby) tonight when I went to see Star Wars VII in theaters (amazing movie by the way). Such a great experience with my family, and so memorable, and this post made me want more moments like those. I haven’t enjoyed myself this much in such a long time, and it really made me reflect and realize how wonderful my life and all the people in it are. It’s nice to slow down and appreciate everything, and it’s so important to include meaningful things in your days.
    Thanks for this post, I’m so grateful this blog covers health in just about every way you could possibly perceive it. It’s really great.

  25. I loved this one. Being self-employed, I recognize that I DO have more freedom than many; being an artist/naturalist means I spend more time–quality time–in nature. Anomalies catch my eye and I want to explore. What left that mark? Why is that growing here? What bird makes THAT sound, and how fast can I sketch it to ID it?

    And I HAVE noticed that I seem to have more time, it’s more elastic. I love to explore new concepts, ideas, music, art supplies. (And yep, I did attend my first drum circle this fall. LOVED it. I have my own drum.)

    I’m 73, and feel 30–other than my knees, and they’ve enjoyed the ride.

  26. Great article from a terrific role model. I know people who buy into all the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” They chalk up all the negatives to getting old when they should be addressing lifestyle, diet, and attitude. “Getting old” is just a euphemism for being unwilling to assume responsibility for one’s life and health.

  27. “Chasing the optimization dragon” is all too familiar. Thanks for the insights, Mark!

  28. I was “chained” to a desk for 8+ years, working in commercial real estate for – wait for it – a commercial real estate attorney (go figure). I hated every day. I hated the thought of getting out of bed. I allowed that job to define me. It is my regret that I did not have the ambition at the time to fight for the life that I wanted. The days went by…and by…and by. All a blur…get up, work 12 sometimes 14 hour days, no life for us or our daughter (how could she possibly be a Girl Scout when I would not be around for that?). I felt dead inside, like I was simply existing. Waiting for something – anything to happen.

    My husband and I had always talked about moving to Maine. We talked and talked until one day, not long after my mother passed away after several years with cancer, we decided to DO. Who knows how much time we will have on this earth? I am damn sight going to take action now while I can and while I can enjoy it. Long story short, we did it. Found the perfect house at the perfect price on the perfect 3 acres at the perfect distance from the elementary school. We wanted to raise our daughter in the beauty that is Maine. Give her the opportunity to see what the world is outside of television and what we call the “Google machine”. I did a short 6 month stint at the local grocery store in an attempt to decompress and gain some perspective outside of my narrow line of vision from behind a desk. It worked. I feel like a different person. I have a hard time trying to understand now where all my free time comes from. The days seem so long sometimes, and it is amazing. I try to put my head back at my desk in Baltimore, and it burns!!! The things I worry about now are important, but in a different way (“is there enough gas in the snowblower?”, or “what shall we have for dinner?”, or (my personal favorite) “where should I take my run today?”). I never enjoyed exercise before I got here. I have gotten to the point where I actually look forward to it (whaaat?) and any reason to be outside (what, rake the leaves? Chase away the neighbor’s rooster? Hell yeah!!). Just seeing the great, tall trees and hearing the birds sing or feeling the sun on the back of my legs. That is what I treasure. I feel fortunate that my husband and I were on the same page and able to take this leap together. As stated previously, I do regret allowing myself to be consumed by the job. I wish that I had the presence of mind at the time to not let it affect me the way that I did. At the same time, I am almost happy for it because I think that it makes me appreciate my life in the north woods so much more. In this transition I have learned that we are the creators of our own happiness. I am fortunate and grateful to have a husband and daughter to share my journey with. Now I can’t wait to find out what I will see tomorrow!

    1. What an inspiring story! It made me smile to hear how happy you are in your new life. I live in a small town in Vermont and far too often forget to be grateful for where I am and how I get to live.

  29. I’m 72 and on no prescription drugs. I was taking Fosamax, but after listening to my dentist & reading about the side effects I politely told my Doctor I was no linger taking them. Going Paleo enabled me to stop taking the drugs for my hiatus hernia.
    Time does seem to go too quickly, but since retiring I’m involved with lots of things. I think the trick is do what one really enjoys doing and to stop things one no longer enjoys. I come from a long lived family and with proper diet and some basic exercise which is fun hope to live a long time in good health. Don’t want to live all wired up to machines – can’t see the point. I acquired another rescue kitchen nearly 4 years ago. If she lives as long as the last cat who lived until she was 21, I’ll be 89 before this one dies. I prefered to have a kitten as they are easier to train than an older cat. She was like a hyperactive toddler for about a year, but has now calmed down and is very loving.

  30. “Plan Trips”: I was recently on a webpage that detailed some beautiful words from other languages that described states of mind that have no equivalent in English. One of them was the Dutch word ‘Voorpret’, it means the enjoyment one feels from the planning and anticipation of a fun event. Looking into different cultures gives a wonderful new perspective ~ Great article, Mark!

  31. I feel the way to slow time down is to make sure you have plenty of “anchor” that can help you remember what happened to you in the last few years. That prevents you from waking up and feeling that 10 years have passed without you realizing it. Life offer you some once in a while (kids, marriage…). Work may also contributes (I’m pretty luckyto be working in sports, so every years I have numerous travel to world cups and world championship, and every four year we have the olympic games). You also have to create those moments if work/life don’t supply enough. All those have to be memorable event that can serve as anchored to other more ordinary event. That way, when you look back, time seems not to have past as fast, and at least you have lasting memory of incredible event.

  32. Great article to start the year. And very useful comments too. Thank you!

  33. HI, I love your articles. Another part of the time speed up exists in commercialism. Xmas cards etc in July, Hot cross buns in January. We need to learn to ignore these ‘time speeders’.

  34. I tried some of this and appeared a day early at a regular appointment for which I have a tendency to show up a day late. Lol. Must re-calibrate back to at least semi-normal now.

  35. Thanks for the helpful tips, Mark! I am one of those people who likes to be busy. But in the last few months I have forced myself to have hours and sometimes even days, where I have nothing planned. I literally block those times out of my diary. And they remain sacred. Guess what? I’ve learned that sometimes I get bored, and … I actually like it! Because then I focus on my immediate surroundings and situation and take it in properly.

  36. How I slowed my time:
    I retired and moved to a small town in France.
    Time is definitely not money in retirement.
    Moving to a different country surrounds you with novelty.
    The pace of life in rural France is slower at a cultural level.
    I bought a house here that requires renovation. It keeps me busy but I can do things at my own pace.
    I sold my car before leaving the states so I walk, a lot.
    A limited internet plan allows connectivity but not constantly.
    There is nature all around but also history and a seemingly timelessness with the ancient architecture.
    I will plan trips in the future but I’m enjoying being where I am for now.

  37. “What was actually 50 minutes felt like an hour to the tech addicts, who were more anxious and stressed about time running out than the folks who used technology less.”

    – What? This shows that time is percieved to go slower for the tech addicts. Not the opposit. Did you misquote your source?

    Because this is what i want.. I want 50 minutes to feel like an hour! Thats why i clicked on this article.

  38. my life has been moving faster but only when I want it to. I’m 13 and I feel like I have a good philosophy and I feel more mature than almost all of my peers. I know it probably sounds weird and you can tell me I’m wrong because I’m young but I see the world in a more adult point of view than most 20 year old adults. When I want time to be slow I feel it slow down when I think about the future and what I want to do then.

    1. That’s because you’re being aware of everything and time so your memories are greater, helping to create more time.

  39. Thanks so much for this Mark! I’ve been meaning to look up ways to slow down time and I have just not had the time ha ha! Anyway I am getting older and it does seem like it’s going faster and I agree the technology certainly doesn’t help… Thanks for the reminder to unplug… To get back to nature to try new things all great advice thank you thank you!

  40. This was very interesting.I am age 57, and everyday it seems like the time from 9AM to 10pm speeds by.When I was in my twenties, each day seemed like 2 days, and Sundays dragged like a snail.Not anymore!

  41. Sometimes I feel as though If I watch the clock constantly and just being aware of the time without judgement, then time goes slower for me.
    Also I’m starting to forget my age and give up on planning a future, ie. Retirement. I am self employed and now planning to travel around australia with my wife and daughter, the months drag on.
    I guess these could be subject to each individual. But I’m happy it drags.

  42. Thank you for this. I am going to bookmark it. I so very much agree with you about life quality. When I was eighteen I decided that I preferred death to serious illness, and I have never changed my mind.


  43. As soon as I turned 12, time started flowing really fast for me. This really helped a lot, thank you.

  44. Tip: make yourself feel Bored… Do something you don’t like, like washed the dishes

  45. A superb read and I will try to put this into practice!
    Happy new year

  46. I am very interested in the topic lately, and this article greatly summarized all the research I was looking into lately. thanks for sharing!

  47. Mark I cant believe i found this article, I have been searching and pondering why the time seems to go faster and yet we dont really remember the years unless some traumatic event or something novel happens, Iam 57 and like you i feel pretty good and can do most anything i did 30 years ago.maybe i lost some speed but I am still working out . Time is so strange and not really understood, yet you really nailed it Really great read I am going to print this out its so good, Email me because i would like to hear any new ideas you have i notice this was in 2015

  48. Really cool article
    I agree with you . Also as a child time seems to be moving much more slowly than being an adult, am not sure if its perception or real

  49. I just turned 40 and your points are all hitting home. The past 10 years went by in what seemed like a month and you begin to look at your own mortality all of a sudden, good reminders here to enjoy and have perspective. Thank you!

  50. Faster than before, I’m on my last week of the summer holidays and it’s been the fastest one ever, I want this week to drag

  51. Lose the fear of death,as a result you can improve your sleep; pretend you’ll never wake up again, then there’s nothing left to worry about. Create anything on the fly – I play my guitar and sing I make it up as I go. Find a job that forces going somewhere new and meeting new people everyday. Make friends, be a good listener. Tell a story to all that will listen. Sleep for five hours, wake for six, back for five and so on while off for two days; by the time the weekend is over, I’ve gone to sleep and gotten up 5 or 6 times. Thus two days feels like a week. Make memories by all means possible, in idle times they can occupy your thoughts. Try anything. Be willing to suck at something. Refuse to talk about your health. Exercise is the best way to fight time. The down side is the obvious, people getting in the way of your fun – if your life sucks you don’t want it to feel any longer.

  52. Finding something important and meaningful in your life is the most productive use of your time and energy. This is true because every life has problems associated with it and finding meaning in your life will help you sustain the effort needed to overcome the particular problems you face. Thus, we can say that the key to living a good life is not caring about more things, but rather, caring only about the things that align with your personal values. Focusing on what you have in the moment instead of “I’ll be happy when…” will help slow down passing time. “Be thankful – Do good – Be happy now.” -Robson Grant

  53. I don’t how i spend my last 3 year in my house . I hardly go 14 days in a year in my college and spend time all day watch tv movies spend all day in home .
    I don’t know what is happened to me .
    I just fell 3 days ago not 3 years . Why ??

  54. Hello, I think there is an error when you state: “What was actually 50 minutes felt like an hour to the tech addicts”.

    From Justin.

  55. Wow that was amazing! I am working on youtube video about how to slow down time. Its really useful. Thanks 🙂

  56. I know this article is several years old at this point, but I wanted to say thank you on the off chance you still check comments on old posts.

    I’m 21, and, ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve been having a bit of a crisis over my age for the past several weeks. I’ve felt like time is zipping by, and have been getting increasingly anxious and depressed. It was especially bad tonight, and I was searching for something to give me relief. Then I came upon your article. This seriously brought me from the verge of a nervous breakdown.

    What you said about our perception of time being a mental construct gave me this amazing “aha!” moment, and, while I’m sure I’ll still need to work through this emotionally, I feel like this was a turning point.

    Thank you so much.

  57. Hey mark, I’m 26. Just wanted to say your article is still reaching people and doing good. Thanks!

  58. One thing I use to slow down time is to put clock on wall specially where I spend most of the time working.. Like 2 clocks in same room

  59. I honestly do all of this all the time it sums up my life lol yet every single night after I’ve had a full school day, and I’ve done all my tasks for the day, or I’ve tried something new, I still cannot simply sit in the moment. Like, it honestly right now at almost 10 pm feels like I literally just woke up this morning. Everything that happens to me on a daily basis only sinks in way after it’s happened. So I constantly think about what happened in my day and then even when I do that I can’t comprehend everything going on, it’s honestly all a mess, my perception on time needs to change I want just 10 minutes to feel like an hour for once. I remember a time when looking at a clock every 2 seconds slowed down my perception on time. Now when I do so, it speeds up, and it feels like my life is happening at the speed of light. I wish your advice helped me, and I’m really disappointed that it didn’t, I was really hoping for clear cut answers to my problem, but I’m sure other people, normal people, find this post interesting and helpful, I’m just not a normal person, and I have a crazy life with crazy events . Every hour is something new happening that is really hard to wrap my head around. Love and light to you anyways.