“The older you get, the faster time goes by?”
We’ve all heard the phrase, and it’s depressing.
Known as ‘proportional theory,’ physics says that because a year at the age of 1 represents 100% of your life while a year at the age of 100 is just 1% time goes much slower when you’re young.
That’s why your summer break after third grade felt so incredibly long, or why waiting 25 days for Santa Claus seems to take forever.
But what if we don’t want to believe that half of our perceived lives are lived between the ages of 4-18 years old?
Well, I’m happy to share that there is science behind stopping life from passing you by.
Is it possible to slow down time?
Yes… sort of.
While you can’t actually slow down time, you can slow down your perception of time.
Before we drag you down a time warp hole, we dug into the research and found plenty of real science to back this up. Cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists say it’s more about creating memories than the actual passage of time.
And some memories are more poignant than others.
These are the three things you need to do to “trick” your brain to slow down time.
How to make time slow down
Step 1: Get out of your comfort zone
While this sounds like a woo-woo piece of advice thrown around at every personal development event, the science supports it.
Studies show that the amygdala — aka our brain’s ‘Grand Central Station’ which controls memories and emotions — forms more memories when under stress. That’s why you remember a car crash as if it happened in slow motion, even though it took just a few seconds.
The good news is that you don’t need to have a death-defying experience to create more memories. You just need to get out of your comfort zone to slow down time.
This includes things that put you under mild stress and anxiety, like starting a new relationship, interviewing for a promotion, training for a marathon, and moving to a new city.
In other words, the opposite of fear and anxiety is comfort and routine.
Step 2: Don’t live in long “phases”
Our brain is amazing at consolidating effort and creating routine to make life easier.
That’s why we can get in our car and arrive to work without even remembering how we drove there. Our brains put us on autopilot.
The problem happens when our brains do this for longer periods. If our days are too similar and blur together, our brains categorize life into “phases” and won’t make an effort to create lasting memories.
Soon, all that’s left are general memories of “the 8-years I worked in a corporate office as a plastics engineer.” While those 8-years may have been enjoyable, they don’t lend themselves to lasting memories. Therefore, time passes more quickly.
When looking for how to slow down time, the key here is to make changes that are linked to your identity.
Think about it, life seems so long between ages 15-20, perhaps even longer than 10-15 years old.
Psychologists point to the fact that you had so many firsts at ages 15-20: first kiss, first time away from home, first car, and so on.
Why is it you can remember when you got your first car but not when you had your first sloppy Joe? It’s because the car was closely linked to your identity.
Step 3: Move towards a new destination
Have you ever noticed that it takes forever to find your new doctor’s office, yet time flies by on the way home?
That’s because when you don’t exactly know where you’re going, you’re alert and paying close attention.
Called the “return trip effect,” this has been studied by psychologists at Tilburg University.
In the study, people are sent to find a new destination. Then, they return home on a new but equidistant route. The study participants thought that the return trip home was ~22% faster than their trip there.
In other words, when going to a new destination, time perception increases ~22%.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to change this.
Overcome analysis paralysis and take some risks. You can do this by taking on a new role at work, moving homes, or by merely “making this the year you do X, Y, and Z.”
Adding variety will add time to your year and lasting memories to your life. As author Lawrence Wright says,
“I’ve always believed that memories have to burn a little to make an enduring place in your heart.”
– Lawrence Wright
That’s where we come in.
We’re making it easy for you this year with our lifestyle-optimization program for couples: Just Duo It. In this program, over a year, we’ll bring you:
- 365 days of fuel to motivate, reconnect and strengthen your lives and marriage, straight to your inbox.
- Powerful but simple tips on nutrition, fitness, mindset, and healthy relationships, uniquely curated and optimized for the power duo like you.
- A complete12-phase program PDF guidebook, released monthly, to tie it all together, each small step at a time.
Let’s duo this and make this year uniquely memorable, spontaneous, and an opportunity to reconnect on new levels in your relationship.
We’re ready to commit a year on you, are you ready to commit a year on you?
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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