Try These Two Mental Techniques To Feel Less Time Pressure

Both techniques can reduce that anxious, rushed feeling on a daily basis, research finds.

Both techniques can reduce that anxious, rushed feeling on a daily basis, research finds.

It can feel like we have less and less time to get the things done that we want.

But there are two easy ways to increase the feeling of having time.

The first — slow breathing — is simple enough to do (see the end of the article if you would like some instructions).

The second is reframing stress and anxiety as excitement.

This can be done by simply telling yourself that you are excited.

Excitement has many of the same feelings in the body as stress and anxiety but has a positive meaning.

The idea is to reframe what you are feeling.

A recent study finds both techniques work well to decrease that anxious, rushed feeling on a daily basis.

The study’s authors write:

“Beyond the number of activities actually competing for their time, emotional conflict between activities makes consumers feel that they have even less time.

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 reason for having such stressful lives is the complexity of everyday life, the study’s authors write, as people…

“…exist in a complex social environment that often activates multiple goals at the same time.

People may simultaneously have goals to be successful at work and a good parent at home, save money for retirement and buy nice things, or be healthy and indulge in tasty treats.”

Of course this pressure has a knock-on effect:

“Feeling pressed for time impacts how consumers spend time, and how much they are willing to pay to save it.

From a consumer standpoint, feeling pressed for time can have many harmful consequences such as poorer health, trouble sleeping, and depression.

By pausing to breathe or envision the source of stress in a more positive light, people can enjoy the time they actually have in a healthier and happier way.”

Here are the breathing instructions:

“…breathe so that each complete breath (inhale plus exhale) lasts 11 counts.

The inhale should last 5 counts (i.e., 1-2-3-4-5) and the exhale should last 6 counts (i.e., 6-7-8-9-10-11).

Please complete 10 of these 11 count breaths now.”

The study was published in the Journal of Marketing Research (Etkin et al., 2015).

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This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.