Three weeks have passed since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 — so why does it feel like it’s been years? According to the Verge, if the days feel as though they are dragging on, it might be a defense mechanism.
Emotions have run high in the last 21 days, as the Trump administration has targeted various communities with one executive order after the other. “Time seems to slow down when we’re stressed,” argues Angela Chen at the Verge, based on the work of psychologist Ruth Ogden. Chen writes, “From the evolutionary perspective, this makes a lot of sense: If you detect a threat nearby, feeling like time slows down might better prepare you to react.”
Are the masses, then, emotionally responding to the threat posed by President Trump?
On the other hand, time can feel as if it’s slowing when there is a lot to process, and there has been no shortage of information to process in the last three weeks. Every day has been filled with a series of new headlines about Trump and his administration, proving difficult to weed through. Ogden tells the Verge, “This requires a lot of information processing, and that makes us feel like an event has lasted a lot longer, because we have to think a lot more about things.”
However, the slowing of time won’t last forever, Ogden says. “It’s so difficult to maintain that level of emotional processing for a long period of time. And also our representation of what is normal will change over that period of time.”
This is not to say that Trump’s proposals and their consequences will be normalized, but rather that people will likely become more accustomed to his actions over time. His actions will become less of a shock with time, but resisting them will still be pertinent.