Recommended, 2020

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Too impatient? Great tips for inner peace

Phew, we still have to walk forever - or not? Even a nice companion brings our sense of time into a tailspin.
Photo: iStock
  1. Are we daaa soon?
  2. The inner clock
  3. Tricks against impatience
  4. Estimate distances
  5. How the memory deceives us

Are we daaa soon?

"Are we daaa soon?" As children, we kept asking. And even today we wonder why we often go wrong when we estimate waiting times and distances. What is behind our impatience.

Actually, we have nothing against the waiting itself - if only not this time would always pass very slowly. The ten minutes we spend at the box office seem endless - the two-hour film after that, we feel, is jerking past. Why do we often perceive the passing of minutes and hours as differently? And how are we getting less impatient ?

The inner clock

"In fact, we often measure time only by feeling, " explains time researcher Marc Wittmann. Instead of looking at the clock once more to find out how many minutes have passed, we estimate a period of time more like how much or little has happened in the meantime. The less we experience, the slower our inner clock is ticking - so the time goes by for a snorer. And the more impatient we become. Not for nothing therefore it says: time is relative.

Tricks against impatience

So what are shortening waiting times that we can not influence? Exactly: distraction. No matter if you are looking at the smartphone, the book or a nice small talk . Incidentally, the waiting time - without our knowledge or dedication - is often sweetened by a few tricks clever designers. For example, not without reason, the waiting areas in front of elevators are often equipped with mirrors or screens. They should catch our eyes, bring us to other thoughts, entertain us - and shorten the waiting time.

It serves the same purpose that at many airports, the routes between arrivals area and baggage band were deliberately extended. Because: when we run, the time goes by faster for us, as if we stand our legs in the stomach.

Estimate distances

It's just as easy to fool our brain when we estimate how long we need to travel or how long distances are. Studies show that we consider roads with many curves longer than straight avenues. Similarly, we estimate a route that leads out of the city or goes much uphill or downhill, as more than on a flat plane running roads.

How the memory deceives us

A Japanese study also shows that after a few years, known routes - such as those to work - are automatically estimated to be longer. Here, the individual impressions of the past months are simply summed up by the brain - and the "memorial mountain" makes the track appear longer.

Finally, there is a general insight: "For our sense of time, only experiences that are new to us or have moved us emotionally play a role, which we attribute to having an especially long duration afterwards, " says Wittmann.