I am certain you have heard about it many times. About how good it is for you and so on. I am talking about being in a state called flow. What is it? Why is it good? And how to get into it? Enjoy this material to learn a bit more about that.
What is the flow?
Have you ever seen a child playing with its favourite toys? Usually, at that moment you could call it many times, without any response. Or even a tiny remark, that it notices you are addressing it. Unless you would use some keyword to break that state. You know, like, sweets, chocolate, ice cream. Maybe this happened to you? Maybe you were doing something, playing a game, reading a book, building or fixing something. And you were so focused on this thing, that you forgot about all your surroundings. This kind of state is exactly what many call the flow.
It is a state of being so immersed in the activity, that you are not aware of what is going on around you. Secondly, when the flow is broken, you are quite often surprised by how much time has passed. For me many times this happened whenever I was coding or reading a book. Many times, years back, I’ve missed my stop because of that. Can you remind yourself about a similar situation in your life? I am not talking about missing your stop, but being in such a state of focus doing something, that nothing else matters. If so, congratulation you were in a flow.
How did you feel at such a moment? Did you enjoy it? How did you feel after that? Would you like to find yourself in this state more often? Why? What was so good in this, that you would like to get back to this state again? Is it good for you to get in that state? What are the pros of finding and getting into flow? Are there any cons? if so what are they? We will look into that in the next section. For now, just remember that, as we find out, the flow is a state of mind where you are extremely productive and also feel great. A state in which you are so focused on some activity that you lose track of time and are not aware of what is going on around you.
Why it is a good state?
So, now, what is the good, the bad and the ugly, about the flow? Surprised, Oh yes the flow can be bad. If you wonder how is that, here is the explanation. There are situations in which a flow state might be induced on you, to use your focus on something for another person benefit. As an example think about games and casinos. There is a whole branch of psychology that investigates and analysis, what to do to induce a flow state in gamers. Just to hold them playing and make a profit on them. Whatever we will judge this, it just is. Now you are at least aware of this.
However, lets us focus on positive aspects of flow. When you are doing something that is good for you. Or when you working, At this point it is good to find yourself in the flow, don’t you think? Is it better to do something, that is soo interesting, that you are losing yourself completely into that action, isn’t it? Or maybe you prefer to go every day to the boring job, where you can’t wait for every free minute, for every break, for that moment when you will finally be free to go home? Which of these scenarios is more appealing for you?
I am guessing now, but unless you are not some kind of masochist, your answer was, that you would like to do something interesting in your life. Did you find something like that already? Congratulations. You can call yourself blessed, especially if you can do this as a way to provide for yourself. If you don’t have it, search for it. Search for a thing that makes you smile and happy, even when you just think about it. For something that makes you lose awareness of time passing when you do it. And then focus yourself on mastering it and converting it into your income stream.
How can you find flow and preserve it?
So what can you do to find it easier? There are many methods to do this. Some general rules are to remove any distracting, you, things, both inner and outer. Things like overthinking some situations, worrying about them and so on. With this can help technic, I was mentioning already many times. It is writing. Just write down what is, that you are worried about. Think on paper. What is it? How real it is? What can you do about that? You can do that just as one-offs or as a daily journaling routine. For external distractions, simply switch off the TV, maybe the internet if you need to do some work on your laptop. Put your phone on silent and away from you so you won’t be tempted to use it.
Remember also, that to get into flow require willpower. This means, that if you will be tired, it will be extremely difficult for you to get into it. Find when you are at your peak and then reach for your flow. Music, but the right one, can be also quite helpful with this task. Personally, I like to play some lofi playlists without vocals so the words will not disturb me. But if you like techno, classic, jazz or any other kind, go for it. One rule, don’t play new songs, as at this moment it will try to steal your attention. And rather go for instrumental versions.
When you want to achieve flow, avoid multitasking. Focus on one thing and choose something, that will be somehow challenging, though, not too much. Too easy task will make you bored. Too hard tasks will increase your anxiety. In both cases, you will be kicked out of the flow. Important is also to have a goal To know what outcome you want to achieve from your activity. And have step by step plan of how to get to it. This way you create a path for yourself to maintain the flow. Lastly, drink water as it is required for your brain to function properly.
In a conclusion, we talk briefly about what is the flow, what are its cons and pros and how can you induce it and maintain it. And for the end I allow myself to quote Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
If you have your own methods of how you get and maintain flow, share them in the comments. I will be pleased to read and test them.
In any case, you would like to know more or need some support, I would love to help you with this. Just drop me a message in the comment section.
Blessings upon you my friend.
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