Anxiety and Time

May 19, 2021 TJ DeSalvo

I don’t know if I am unique in this respect, but I feel like I am more sensitive to the passage of time than others. How I experience the passage of time plays fairly heavily into how I respond to anxiety. In this post, I want to spend a bit of time discussing how time and anxiety intersect for me.

How Time and Anxiety Intersect in My Mind

A major way in which anxiety messes with my sense of time is its tendency to deprive me of a normal sleep pattern. If there is something specific that I am dreading, I will actively prevent myself from sleeping, as sleeping makes time appear to pass faster than being awake. When I am awake in these instances, I usually won’t actually do anything – generally, I’ll still be lying in bed trying to relax, playing a movie or some music, but I won’t sleep. I also won’t generally be paying that close attention to whatever I’m playing.

I realize that this isn’t the healthiest way to resolve one’s anxiety, but I would at least like to explain, in my own defense, what goes through my mind when I do it. I want to spend as much of my conscious time doing something relaxing before having to deal with whatever it is that’s stressing me out. If I were to sleep, I would deprive myself of consciousness.

How to Deal Healthier with Time Anxiety

That all makes sense in my head, but I admit when I typed it out just now, it read like nonsense. I understand that I’m trying to do what I can to control time to my advantage, but I think all I’m really doing is depriving myself of sleep, and in the long run, getting more sleep is going to help me a lot more than depriving myself of it.

What I think I have to tell myself is that regardless of how I may experience time internally, time still passes in the same uniform amount whether I’m conscious of it or not. Doing anything to make it seem otherwise is deluding myself. Instead of playing tricks to make time seem longer, perhaps it would be worth more to me to make the most of the time I have. Perhaps attempting to confront whatever is stressing me out, coming to peace with it, and using the rest of that time to actually sleep is a healthier way to live.

APA Reference
DeSalvo, T. (2021, May 19). Anxiety and Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: TJ DeSalvo

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