If you felt like 2020 lasted forever but last year flew by in the blink of an eye, you're not alone.
Traumatic events, including lockdowns, George Floyd's murder, several natural disasters and a tense election year, made for a long, stressful year.
“All of these things, what my team calls 'cascading' or 'compounding collective traumas,' were occurring simultaneously, which kept a lot of people in this mode of very, you know, very staying on the present moment,” said E. Alison Holman, University of California, Irvine professor of nursing. “And what can happen in that situation is that that sense of time can be slowed.”
She says how we view the future says a lot about how we feel as time passes. When the future is uncertain, time slows down, she said.
The study, recently published online in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, documents how pervasive the experience - known as “temporal disintegration" in psychiatric literature -was in the first six months of the pandemic. The team also found that pandemic-related secondary stresses such as daily COVID-19-related media exposure, school closures, lockdowns and financial difficulties were predictors of distortions in perceived time.
In 2022, we still had a lot of traumatic events happening across the country, but many Americans started to rebuild for the future.
Holman said with any traumatic event, you can improve your sense of time by starting small and just making plans for the following day.
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