Psychology and Mental Health Forum

Author:  Ada [ Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:29 pm ]
Blog Subject:  More thoughts on time

Quote- We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling — whether it’s trying to stop the years racing past, or speeding up time when we’re stuck in a queue, trying to live more in the present, or working out how long ago we last saw our old friends. Time can be a friend, but it can also be an enemy. The trick is to harness it, whether at home, at work, or even in social policy, and to work in line with our conception of time. Time perception matters because it is the experience of time that roots us in our mental reality. Time is not only at the heart of the way we organize life, but the way we experience it.
- Claudia Hammond

How about that! Now that I am thinking about time, relevant ideas are suddenly everywhere. I have to track down the book quoted above, Time Warped, from the library. There's something here that I can't get my brain around.

The book goes on to talk about the Holiday Paradox, which is “the contradictory feeling that a good holiday whizzes by, yet feels long when you look back.” This may have to do with the contrast between the daily grind and the new and exciting stimuli from a good holiday. Regular life is marked by work, weekends, mealtimes and bedtime. For me, at least, that is very consistent from day to day. I like that. But holidays throw all those "rules" out of the window. All bets are off. The novel experiences make stronger memories than usual, deeper impressions. And so time seems to pass "differently" and there is a mismatch, warping time perception.

Is it perhaps possible that I have been doing this the other way round? That in a constant quest for novelty within my own brain, I've normalised the "holiday" form of time passing? And when I don't daydream, the crashing boredom and observable stress reactions are "normal" time. Not to mention that I daydream much less on the rare occasions I'm away from home.

I may be overcomplicating things. In my daydreams, time has very little relevance. I may replay certain scenes and fast-forward through others. There is no linear time. Perhaps that's important.

Or, even more prosaically. I HAVE less time when I daydream since it is used up without attention being paid. I only live during the time I don't daydream. And when things are bad, that's only a few hours a day at best.

Still. When I'm thinking like this, I'm not daydreaming. So that is a clear victory whatever the nature of time.

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