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Time goes by faster as you get older—but there’s a way to slow it down

Cleaners abseil down one of the faces of Big Ben, to clean and polish the clock face, above the Houses of Parliament, in central London
Reuters/Toby Melville
Keeping time.

Sometimes it seems as if life is passing us by. When we are children, time ambles by, with endless car journeys and summer holidays which seem to last forever. But as adults, time seems to speed up at a frightening rate, with Christmas and birthdays arriving more quickly every year.

But perhaps it doesn’t need to feel this way. Our experience of time is flexible, speeding up in some situations and slowing down in others. There are even some altered states of consciousness (such as under the influence of psychedelic drugs, in traumatic situations, or when athletes are “in the zone”) in which time seems to slow down to an extraordinary degree.

So maybe by understanding the psychological processes behind our different experiences of time, we might be able to slow things down a little.

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