Flow theory was first noted by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.
Flow can be characterized by complete absorption in what one is doing. It is also known as being in ‘the zone’ or ‘in the groove’. Regardless of what word you use, it is when you are fully immersed in whatever activity you are engaged in, in other words being fully present, in the moment, mindful. You seem to lose track of time, it simply slows down.
So what are the benefits of being in flow?
Several that spring to mind are:
- Increased happiness
- Increased productivity
- Reduction in stress
- Greater self esteem
- Greater ability to focus
- The Ego falls away
- Chatter in the mind ceases
When in flow we often do not feel or recognise emotions, our sense of self seems to disappear. It is not until after the activity is complete that we realise what our state of mind is, and it is usually happy and content. And the beauty of this emotion is that it does not generally depend on any external source, it is internal.
Whilst flow is something you can cultivate, it is not something you can do on demand, or at a set time every day like meditation or some other activity.
5 tips to cultivate more flow into your life?
- Analyse your life, what makes you happy? When do you notice that you are in flow/the zone or groove? What challenges you?
- Assess when your peak productivity times are.
- Clear away as many distractions as you can, turn off the phone, close the door.
- Do the activity, become fully immersed.
- Keep practicing.
However do not confuse flow with procrastination. Procrastination is doing things that numb the senses such as video games, television and alcohol to avoid participating in life. Check out my next blog for tips eliminating procrastination.