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Ideas

Ideas

How to make time expand

Researchers know ‘time affluence’ makes us happier. But time isn’t bendable — or is it?

It’s a problem so common it may qualify as a new American epidemic: We’ve got no time. Too busy. Overwhelmed by work, family obligations, and the fast-paced nature of a run-ragged world, many Americans — especially working adults, parents of young children, and those with college degrees, according to polls — feel strapped for time and are leading less happy lives as a result.

Researchers in the 1990s gave this familiar, if dreadful, feeling a name: time famine. More recently, they coined a term to describe the opposite: time affluence, that elusive feeling of being rich in time. Time affluence, it appears, has real benefits in our lives. If time famine can create a state of rolling personal crisis, studies have shown that feeling “time affluent” can be powerfully uplifting, more so than material wealth, improving not only personal happiness, but even physical health and civic involvement.

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