EMAIL# 238- 22ND OCTOBER 2023- # "IN SEARCH OF FLOW"
Are “FLOW STATE” activities the key to happiness?
Flow = accomplishing challenging tasks or activities whilst expending the minimum amount of mental energy.
I love skiing. I grew up with it and it is part of who I am.
When I am on the slopes skiing nothing else matters.
I am fully aware of my surroundings, the snow conditions, and other skiers, but nothing else really enters my mind.
It is feels exhilarating but completely natural and this feeling never gets old. I just want to do it again and again. And this feeling lasts for a few days after leaving the hill.
I am now aware that whilst I am carving down a ski run, I am in a “STATE OF FLOW,” and I am hooked for life.
The best think about being in a FLOW STATE is the total absence of distraction. The activity you are immersed in is commanding 100% of your attention.
“Flow is the highest form of emotional intelligence, it’s the struggle to control your attention and ignore everything else.”
The more I study human behaviour and happiness the more I learn about the importance of controlling your attention.
Hungarian Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I checked the spelling twice) back in the 1970’s was named “The Father of Flow” due to his revolutionary research into FLOW and happiness.
“Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action and thought follows inevitably from the previous one. Like playing Jazz.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Being immersed in a flow inducing activity allows you to temporarily forget about your worries and the frustrations of normal life.
This is why flow inducing activities such as skiing, surfing, sailing, rock climbing are addictive. Being engaged in these activities is akin to experiencing a higher for of consciousness, which alters your sense of time. Hours feel like minutes and sometimes minutes can feel like hours.
Certain types of work can also induce a flow state. Highly creative pursuits like writing, playing, or composing music, creating art, cooking or even a surgeon operating on a patient can often experience this fully immersive state of consciousness.
I find that blocking out undisturbed time and working on house plans is one of the most rewarding and flow inducing parts of my job. This is also when I do my most creative and productive work.
” Being able to forget temporarily who we are seems to be very enjoyable.” Daniel Goleman
But work and life is never that simple and several things actively work against you experiencing flow on a regular basis. Stress, Anxiety, poor sleep, hormones, and a plethora of constant distractions prevent us from setting up the conditions that allow us to slide into a flow state.
Psychologist Daniel Goleman (expert on social and emotional intelligence) has found that in the right environment and with intrinsic motivation people can frequently experience “micro-flow” for 15 to 30 mins at a time.
The biggest take away from reading several articles by Goleman & Csikszentmihalyi is that your inner mindset is more powerful than your external environment or circumstances. People can experience flow in adverse conditions, such as a wrongfully convicted prisoner in jail or a marathon runner two hours into a race. It is all about being in control your inner consciousness.
“External forces can imprison our physical world, but our internal world can still be free. Therefore, happiness can still be possible.” Tim Denning
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and find some flow.