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Time is the product of physics, but how we perceive the passage of time is the product of the mind.
Your perception of time is subjective and malleable - it changes in response to input and context. It can be distorted by drugs, disease, sleep deprivation, or other altered states of consciousness.
When our minds are not stimulated, it can feel like time is moving very slowly.
When we are fully engaged, especially when we are busy with activities that keep us in a state of flow, our sense of time seems to speed up or even disappear. This "flow state" is where one is wholly absorbed in a mental or physical activity.
Improvised art forms, such as music, acting, or comedy is an example of a flow state. Improvisation is a highly complex form of creative behaviour. The ability to improvise requires cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking and discipline-specific skills.
During musical improvisation, there is an increase in the area of the brain involved in intentional self-expression and the pursuit of goal-oriented behaviours and a decrease in the brain areas involved in conscious self-monitoring, focused attention, and evaluation of planned actions.
We don't need to be able to improvise to achieve flow states. We can turn off the constant time-keeping moments when in artistic rapture or contemplation. Activities such as meditation, hypnosis, and daydreaming can also induce altered states of consciousness.
During improvisation, a performer's moment-to-moment decisions and actions may feel as if they happen outside of time and without intention. But, if performers become overly self-aware or self-conscious for too long, they can lose the flow state, and their performance will suffer.
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When you are in a state of “flow” it is not good to take a break.
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