It is not really because the seconds or minutes are running faster than usual. The measure of time remains the same, but we perceive its movement differently when we are engaged in fun activities compared to when we are bored. Here are some of the reasons why time flies so fast when you are having fun:
When you are having fun, you let yourself go and just enjoy the moment. Self-regulation is minimal when you are happy. You, therefore, pay less attention to what is past or what is to come and think less about the consequences of your action. A child, for example, will always perceive time to be moving fast when he or she is out playing with friends due to lack of self-regulation.
You are too preoccupied to notice the movement of time. When you are involved in fun activities, you get so preoccupied with what makes you happy that you fail to notice the movement of time. When you finally do, it will seem like it has flown by faster than usual. It happens when you are having a good time with your friends or experiencing new places such as when on a trip to a foreign country.
Emotional experiences affect the perception of time. Happy people perceive time to be moving faster than those who are troubled or unhappy. Our emotional experiences, therefore, play a primary role in determining how we perceive the movement of time. Exciting moments take our attention away from time while sad moments bring our attention to it. In the end, we feel like time is flying by when having fun but perceive it to take forever when we are unhappy.
You do not want the fun to stop. Naturally, you never want the fun to end and would very much prefer it to go on and on. This, however, affects our perception of the passage of time. Since we do not want the fun to stop, we perceive time to be moving faster. It is all actually in the mind.
Excitement raises the body temperature, and in a way, this affects our perception of time. Fun, therefore, makes us perceive time to be moving faster than usual. When the excitement dies down, and the body temperature cools, we perceive time to be moving at a much slower pace.
You look forward to achieving your goals. When you are having fun, you develop positive thoughts and are motivated to pursue your goals. You perceive time to be moving faster because you want to get to your desired goal.
Chemicals released in the brain also affect our perception of time. According to research, the neurotransmitter dopamine is usually released in the brain when we are excited. This chemical affects the brain’s functions and thus our perception of time. The study suggests that the chemical may be responsible for the perception that time is flying when we are having fun.
Conclusion: The best moments in life usually seem to fly by because we never want them to end. It is in the nature of humans to desire to be happy and hence the feeling that we haven’t really had enough when we are having fun.