1. A Story.

How do you react to deadlines? How would you feel if someone said "Hurry up, the clock is ticking and we've got to get this completed!"? How well do you cope with stress?

I had a client who was constantly striving to meet deadlines and felt like he was being driven crazy by the ...1. A Story.

How do you react to deadlines? How would you feel if someone said "Hurry up, the clock is ticking and we've got to get this completed!"? How well do you cope with stress?

I had a client who was constantly striving to meet deadlines and felt like he was being driven crazy by the clock on the wall. On a good day he said he could sometimes go ten to fifteen minutes without hearing the clock ticking away. On a bad day he reported the clock felt like it was inside his head, and getting ever louder.

He really got worked up in telling me his story.
"Sometimes" he said, "I have this dream. The phone is ringing off the hook and the clock is ticking away, TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK as if it was a bomb counting down towards detonation. I am a member of the bomb squad called in to dismantle it, before half the city is blown apart. Every day is the same. Just prior to getting to where I either successfully dismantle the bomb, or get blown up in the process, the bell goes off signifying the end of the work day, and I have no choice but to start out again from scratch tomorrow."

Upon hearing this story, I knew full well that my client was experiencing time distortion brought on from stress. I wound up offering him his symptom as the remedy.

First I took his pulse. 90 beats per minute! This means that he had three heartbeats every two seconds. Using a sound software program, I created a two track tape. One track ticked away at one beat per second, just like the clock on his wall. The other track put forth three beats every two seconds, just like his pulse. I let him listen to the tape so he could get used to the ratio of three heartbeats for every two ticks of clock time.

I told my client that next session I would help him slow down time with the help of hypnosis. I took my software program and I distorted time just like my client usually did at work, but in the opposite direction. Instead of compressing time, I lengthened it. I took the two tracks of 90 heartbeats occurring over sixty ticks of the clock, and spread these two sounds out over 75 seconds. My client was left with the impression that time had magically slowed down in his favor.

As I led my client into a mild hypnotic state I told him that we were entering into a special time zone. A realm in which he could slow down time with his breath and his mind. I asked him to count off the sixty seconds as he heard them tick off on the tape, and he did so. He counted backwards from sixty to one, and I told him that one magical minute had just gone by. Next I asked him to pay attention to the thumping sound track that represented his heartbeat, so that he could notice that there was still three beats every two seconds, just like before. Finally, I had him breathe deeply and slowly, while he did nothing else but listen to the interplay of his magical pulse and clock. At the end of twenty minutes he reported feeling wonderfully relaxed. He took his sound file to work and played it in the background, just loud enough to distract him from the clock on the wall. He called me quite happily that evening, to tell me he had the most pleasing and productive day at work that he could ever remember. "Time was on my side" he said!

2. Commentary

Isn't it amazing to notice how radically your experience of passing time changes depending on the circumstances, with little correlation to the steady flow of time as shown on a clock.

Have you ever sat in a waiting room with a clock on the wall that went "tick tock, tick tock" over and over and over again, until such time that you either wanted to run out of the room, or throw the clock out the window? This kind of experience is especially excruciating when you are waiting for something that you really are not looking forward to, like a treatment from your dentist. In particular, when you are feeling stressed out you experience time distortion. In some instances like when waiting for your dentist, one minute of clock time seems to take forever. At other times when you are working towards a deadline, time appears to slip away without your knowing where it went, and you are left wondering why you are accomplishing so little.

Waiting for a train that is twenty minutes late, when that train is bringing your loved one back to you, is very different than getting to the train station early with your loved one and waiting twenty minutes for the same train to take your loved one away from you. The train is the same, the station is the same, your loved one is the same, and the time on the clock is the same, but somehow, your emotional experience of "twenty minutes" is quite different.

It is important for each of us to understand how the fixed passage of time as measured by a clock, has little to do with our emotional experience of time. Rather than being under the illusion that time rules our life, we will do well to recognize that it is our emotional experience and our mindset that determines how we relate to the ticking of the clock. Restrict your breathing and tense your muscles and time invariably will appear to speed up. You relate to time according to your expectations of what will transpire. Expect that you will be successful and the clock on the wall appears to offer you a bit more time. Expect the worst and you will have difficulty keeping up.

What can you do to have a healthier perspective in regard to time? The first thing you can do is breathe slowly and deeply. When you slow down your body clock, the clock on the wall appears to slow down along with you. The next thing you can do is check in with your body. If you create a feeling of expansion in your body, by aligning your posture and releasing your muscles, time will appear to expand somewhat as well. Furthermore, you can notice your surroundings and extend your awareness out into the space around you. When you extend your awareness to take in the wide range of sights and sounds taking place in your local environment you will also extend your concept of time. Lastly, realize that with any luck, you will have tomorrow to accomplish what you were not able to accomplish today. Every new day, brings new opportunities for appreciating your life and the people you care about.

Author's Bio: 

Charlie Badenhop is the originator of Seishindo, an Aikidoinstructor, NLP trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist.Benefit from a new self-help Practice every two weeks, bysubscribing to his complimentary newsletter "Pure heart,simple mind" at http://www.seishindo.org/anger/index.html.