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Why Time Seems to Slow Down When You Meditate

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Time perceptions and meditation

If you’re new to meditation, the first few sessions might seem excruciatingly long. You’ll experience a barrage of thoughts about how you want to stop thinking, scratch an itch, or make your body comfortable.

Later though, when you have practiced often, the opposite will become true. You’ll lose time at the drop of a hat. A twenty-minute session, or even an hour may go by in a flash. Why do time and meditation have such a strange relationship?

How time is measured

The odd connection between meditating and time passing stems from the way people measure time. These days, people have clocks to tell them how long they spend carrying out tasks and when they need to stop and do something else.

Nonetheless, unconsciously you use more than your watch to let you know about time.

Intervals between thoughts and events

When you aren’t meditating your thoughts are liable to stream through your consciousness, one after the other. Some might be repetitive while others relate to your environment.

Those that correlate with what’s happening around you serve as gauges of time. Hence, you might recognize thoughts about traffic arise in the morning as rush-hour occurs.

You also measure time by events themselves like breakfast and when your stomach next rumbles, urging you to eat again. You know it’s likely to be lunchtime when you are hungry or time for dinner.

When you meditate, thoughts fade

During meditation you don’t think as much as usual. The great river of endless thoughts stop flowing and your sense of time goes too. Additionally, there are no events or distractions with which to gauge time.

Some experienced meditators suggest one aim of meditation is to lose awareness of time passing and live in the present. Without ways of measuring time, you can appreciate each moment and you are no longer plagued by concerns about the future or worries about the past.

You also lose your awareness of time when you are in the flow, engaged in an activity you love. When this happens, you are in your element and joyful. The main other occasion time is irrelevant is when you are asleep. Whether you are meditating, in the flow, or sleeping, you experience a state of rest.

Rest is vital for health and wellness, since it gives your body and mind the chance to clear out toxins, relax, and exist without stress for a while.

Meditation is a fantastic tool for well-being because you can practice whenever you want to recharge your mental, physical, and spiritual batteries. Once you’ve learned to let go of time, you can enjoy a well-being boost when the whim strikes.

Why Time Seems to Slow Down When You Meditate

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

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APA Reference
Moore, J. (2018). Why Time Seems to Slow Down When You Meditate. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Sep 2018
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