While it is somewhat common knowledge that stress and anxiety can make one feel more rushed during the day, a new study has found that it can literally skew a person’s perception of time. Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the study is one of the first to examine people’s perceptions of conflict in daily tasks as well as how this perception affect levels of anxiety and sense of time. Although the study was carried out to investigate how consumers spend time and how much they are willing to pay to save their time, the results have applications for reducing anxiety in general.
The study, consisting of five separate experiments, involved asking participants to list tasks that took a certain amount of time. Participants were then asked to envision completing the tasks, in some cases being prompted to imagine that tasks conflicted with one another. The results not surprisingly revealed increased levels of anxiety and feelings of being pressed for time. Although the five experiments were the same in design, each one grew in intensity in the level of conflict incited in the participants.
“Beyond the number of activities actually competing for their time, emotional conflict between activities makes consumers feel that they have even less time,” said Jordan Etkin, co-author of the study and researcher at Duke University. “Emotions such as guilt about where time is being spent or fear over loss of income both generate stress, and make a person feel more pressed for time than they actually are.”
The research team found that anxiety increased regardless of whether the conflict was physical or emotional and also that it led to a potentially exacerbating cycle of anxiety and feelings of having less time to complete tasks than there was. If the scope of the study was to see how to get consumers to buy more impulsively, a follow-up study could test which interventional strategies would best calm people down and be stingy instead.
The investigators cited two interventional strategies that proved to be effective in helping people avoid” anxiety time travel.” These strategies included slow breathing and focusing anxiety and stress into more productive emotions such as excitement. However, excitement may possibly slow down one’s perception of time as well (i.e., the time dilation effect little kids experience on Christmas Eve nights). Both the breathing and attitude altering techniques were successfully used during the study, making participants feel less pressed for time than they had initially during the prior several experiments.
Mindfulness meditation in addition to regular breathing exercises has also been four to be an effective means of reducing and preventing stress and the anxiety time warp effect. Research has shown mindfulness meditation to be so effective at reducing stress that it may actually cause people to overestimate how much time they have in some cases.
Being an addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment center, Sovereign Health employs many alternative psychotherapeutic activities in its programs, such as mindfulness based approaches and cognitive behavioral therapy, which could help channel anxiety into healthier emotions such as excitement. Taking a holistic approach, we utilize unconventional approaches to anxiety treatment, such as NAD/NTR rapid detox (natural assisted detox and neurotransmitter restoration therapy) and biofeedback, such as neurobics exercises and other brain mapping and cognitive training techniques.
In addition to offering effective programs to treat mental health, addiction and co-occuring conditions, Sovereign proves treatment centers in multiple locations to serve multiple demographics (i.e. trauma and abuse, adolescents). For more information on Sovereign Health or its various treatment locations, feel free to contact the 24/7 admissions helpline at 866-616-3277.
Written by Chase Beckwith, Sovereign Health Group writer.