How to Slow Down Time: An Interview with Diana Raab, PhD
Diana Raab, PhD is an author, a poet, and a speaker. She has a PhD in Psychology, and has written many books, including Writing For Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, due to be out by September, 2017.
Our interview with her is in reference to a recent article posted on Psychology Today called How to Slow Down Time. In the article, Dr. Raab talks about how time seems to speed up as you get older. The phrase, “my, how time flies,” is used much more often, and it seems that a year can feel like only a month has passed by as the numbers on the calendar change day by day.
What is your background in psychology, and what inspired you to write about slowing down time in this article?
I am a research psychologist, and although I haven’t done specific research in this area, I’m fascinated by how much more quickly time progresses as we age. I’ve become particularly mindful of this since my grandchildren were born last year. Watching them grow brings back many memories of raising my own children. It felt like yesterday that they, too, were infants. This phenomenon compelled me to read more on the subject of time, and I was then moved to share what I learned with my readers, which was my inspiration for writing this article.
I find it interesting that you believe time speeds up because we run out of “firsts.” Do you think this is avoidable depending on how you live your life, or is it inevitable to run out of “firsts” no matter what your lifestyle may be?
That’s a good question. I think that when it comes to certain milestones, such as learning to read, riding a bicycle for the first time, falling in love, starting college, getting married, and so on, it can seem that time goes by quickly. However, if we are lifelong “students” who are continually studying the world around us and trying new things, then it’s possible that time does seem to slow down because we might have more firsts than others. In such cases, how we perceive time does have something to do with how we live our lives.
When did you start noticing that time was moving faster for you? Was there a certain age when you found yourself saying, “Time is flying by”? Do you believe everyone experiences this moment around the same age, or does it depend on the person?
I realized that time was moving faster while watching my children grow into adults and seeing them experience their own firsts. This became magnified when I became a grandparent. I believe that everyone experiences the progression of time in different ways and at different moments, but it certainly seems to move faster as we grow older.
You mentioned a few Buddhist practices that help slow down time by using mindfulness. For the readers who don’t know, what exactly “mindfulness” is, where can they learn more about it? Also, what are some other mindful practices our readers might be able to benefit from?
Mindfulness is about being present in the here and now. Being mindful entails awareness and interconnectedness between our inner and outer worlds. If we are more awake and alert, we can more easily receive the messages from within, as well as those from the universe.
When considering how to quiet your mind, try to sit for a minute and think about what calms you. Then, contemplate how you can incorporate those things into your daily routine. Even just a few minutes engaged in a walking meditation or mindful breathing can bring you into the present moment. In addition to incorporating mindfulness into your day, such as when standing in line at a store, it’s a good practice to do so before sitting down to write. My day always begins with a meditation, sometimes even before I have my coffee. And, I often do a shorter meditation later in the afternoon to give me a boost of energy.
I discuss this in greater detail in my forthcoming book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (Loving Healing Press, September 2017).
Are there any other simple ways to slow down time that might be helpful for non-writers?
Taking the time to listen to or make music, read poetry, paint or draw, or indulge in any other activity that involves the right side of the brain are ways to open the mind and also slow down time. It’s important to note that mindfulness practices and skills work across all age groups, genders, and professions.
Where can we find out more about you and your studies?
My website, www.dianaraab.com.
After reading this article and taking a look at some of the ways Diana Raab slows down time, herself, it seems that it can help us all in times of the constant go go go. We hope you found some insight from this article as to how fast life is going for you and the importance of slowing yourself down from time to time.
I never really thought about how time seems to speed up, but I started to feel it when I entered college for the first time three years ago. I even feel it now in the summer without school looming in the background, weeks go by and it feels like mere days. Dr. Raab has a lot to say about the matter and I feel you asked the right questions in this short interview. The notions of “firsts” and “mindfulness” seem to be key ideas in her book. One thought I had while reading was if the two can be combined or if they can and how they would work together, even perhaps if one is stronger than the other in perceiving time. All in all well done!
I think I need to look into this concept of mindfulness since I often spend time thinking about the future. I still have many ‘firsts’ ahead of me and taking into practice this idea, I’m certain I may be able to ‘slow down time’ and be present as Dr. Raab states.
I really like this interview. Although short, it got straight to the point and told me what I needed to do to be mindful, what activities I could to to goad it along, and so on. The insight at the end was great as well. Good job!
Thanks so much for your comment. Yes. Being ‘present’ is very important. You should check out my book, WRITING FOR BLISS which is coming out in Sept. 2017… there are more tips on mindfulness mentioned there.
I totally agree with how strange it is that time seemingly speeds up as we age. Years can pass and I find myself doing the same routine. Mindfulness seems to be the answer that I should be incorporating into my daily life. Thank you for this.