One of the more interesting aspects of time is how the brain can slow down how we experience time- by processing environmental stimuli more quickly.
The best example I can give you is what happens when you are in danger.
Suppose you are driving along on a major interstate and you see an accident occur 100 yards ahead of you. If you cannot stop your car in time, or avoid the accident, you are going to be badly hurt.
In this situation, time will seem to slow down as you weigh your options. In only a matter of seconds you evaluate your options and take action.
Of course time did not really slow down. What happened instead is that your brain processed the situation more quickly than otherwise. It went into overdrive (no pun intended) and gave you whatever data it could for you to make a good decision.
Some people would say that your brain went into an “altered state of consciousness.”
There are other examples of this happening (and without stimulants or narcotics): a wondrous event in your life that you can recall in an instant – a situation when “time seemed to stop.” Time did not of course stop. Instead what happened is that your brain accelerated the pace at which it normally provides you information from the environment so that time just SEEMED to slow down.
“As the brain works more quickly in a situation of danger, the world outside seems to be moving more slowly. The function of such acceleration is clear: when the organism (you) processes environmental stimuli faster than usual, it enables one to respond more readily and therefore, at least potentially, to react to threats in time. This amounts to an advantage for survival.”
Jim Randel is the founder and author of The Skinny On book series, condensed explanations of important life skills. Randel's books are currently best sellers in China - three of his e-books in the top 100 best-selling e-books in China. The Skinny on Time Management is #10 on the e-book best seller list in China, and #2 on Amazon.com's list of best-selling e-books in Chinese.