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The Time Paradox

Time is so precious, yet it can often feel as though it is rushing away from us, that there’s never quite enough of it. Some of us are even intolerant to the idea of losing time. Part of this could be to do with our individual personalities, whether we’re impatient or competitive…..and part could be to do with our beliefs – in the West, we’re more likely to believe that we are in charge of our own destinies and it’s up to us to work hard in order to achieve our goals, as opposed to Eastern teachings where going with the flow is taken to be more effective.

People who hate the idea of lost time will ensure that they fill every last minute of it: a life filled is a life fulfilled, they believe. When they are busy filling their time, they are happy, and when they stop to relax, they become agitated or bored. They consider boredom to be something unpleasant and to be avoided at all costs.

Too much stimulation is not always a good thing. Allow time to rush past you like this for years and you can expect to see some significant effects. Aside from the stress which can affect your health negatively, for some people it suddenly hits them that they have had no time for themselves, feeling disillusioned with life, becoming sad and unhappy.

The idea of boredom being a waste of time is actually a misconception, because filling our time with nothing allows us to daydream, which can be quite constructive. It allows our feelings and thoughts to mature and our creativity to thrive. That said, this is not about experiencing more ‘empty’ time. Our wellbeing can be improved by slowing down how we experience time, and different people do this in different ways. Yoga and meditation are some of the best remedies – even if you can’t manage a class a week, a few seconds a day at your desk to stop and breathe will relieve you of the pressures that come when you feel like you are running out of time.

Some of my loved ones spend all their spare time in the garden, and they will experience time here quite differently from the way in which they experience time engaged in activities during their busy, working week. Whatever it is you choose to occupy your time, be it stargazing or baking, find the “thing” that works for you. Find a hobby where you can lose yourself totally in the activity. Studies have shown that people who have hobbies are far happier and less stressed than people who don’t. Although we have the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun”, experience also shows that while we’re doing what we enjoy most, it’s only then that we notice an hour seemingly last as long as the best day of our life and a day seem as glorious as our most perfect weekend. Being happy then makes you feel like you could actually stop time?!? Now there’s a thought to conjure with! Next stop: eternal youth?!! Who knows?!

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