Have you ever become so immersed in an activity that all distractions, background noise just fade away, nothing existed except just your fingers on the keyboard or brush in your painting, or working on a project.
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, recognized and describe the state of being intensely absorbed in an activity as “FLOW”. Flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment. Flow experiences can happen both at work and in leisure activities.
The experience of flow leads to positive emotions in the short term and a much happier state of mind in the long term. Understanding your ability to experience flow allows you to create more opportunities for entering the state.
The main characteristics of Flow are :
- You lose awareness of time– while in flow activity, you forget about time and hours can pass like minutes.
- You are not thinking about yourself– you are not concerned about how you look or how others perceive you. Your awareness of yourself is only in relation to the activity itself.
- You are not interrupted by extraneous thoughts– during experiencing flow, you are not thinking of mundane matters like what to cook or what to wear to a party etc.
- You have clear goals at each moment, but you aren’t focused on the goal line– although you may be working towards a goal, that goal is not your primary motivation rather you find the activity itself to be rewarding. Like while playing music you would be focused on the next note to play and not finishing the piece.
- You work effortlessly– although you may be working harder than usual but in flow moments everything feels almost effortless.
- You would like to repeat the experience– the experience of flow is itself rewarding, something you want to replicate.
Our greater sense of satisfaction comes in when we are totally immersed in what we are doing and therefore it is good to engage in activities where you find flow coming naturally.
Try choose an activity that can provide you with new feelings, experiences, and insights, and allow your feelings and awareness to just go with the Flow.
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*Excerpts from Positive Psychology Harvard Health Publishing