Have you ever been so engrossed in an activity that you lost track of time? You were so focused on what you were doing that you didn't notice the world around you? If so, you've experienced flow state.
What it means to be in ‘Flow State?’
Flow state is a mental state in which a person is fully immersed in an activity and is completely focused on the task at hand. Flow state is often described as being "in the zone" or "in the groove." It's a state of deep concentration and enjoyment - something very common for athletes, artists, musicians, and other high-performing individuals often experience.
When you're in a flow state, you lose track of time and you become completely absorbed in what you're doing. You feel a sense of effortless action and a feeling of energised focus. You're fully engaged in the present moment and you're not thinking about anything else. Which goes without saying, can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and happiness.
“There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What are the benefits of achieving flow state?
There are many benefits to achieving a flow state, off of which are positive on your mental wellbeing.
When you're in a flow state, you're able to focus more intently on the task at hand, which can lead to increased productivity and concentration.
Flow state can also lead to increased creativity. When you're in a flow state, your mind is open to new ideas and you're more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems.
Flow state can also lead to increased happiness. When you're in a flow state, you're fully engaged in the present moment and you're not thinking about anything else. It also stretches past temporary highs and gives you a longer last sense of achievement.
Lack of stress or obstacles
Thee feelings of stress, panic, procrastination all take a back seat when you reach flow state.
How to get into a flow state
There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that motivate humans to do something. Intrinsic motivation is the one you want to reach flow state. That’s something that comes from within - so passion or enjoyment. You should be enjoying the journey, rather than the end goal. So enjoying playing football, not getting the win. Or enjoying the process of painting, rather than how much you can sell it for.
There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of achieving a flow state. Here are a few tips:
Find an activity that you're passionate about
When you're engaged in something that you love, it's much easier to get into a flow state.
The activity or task shouldn’t be too easy, or too hard. It should be on the edge of your comfort zone.
It helps if you’re good at the task
You’re more likely to enter flow state if you believe in yourself and your abilities.
Set clear, prioritised goals
When you know what you're working towards, it's easier to stay focused. Choose the most important task first so that your mind doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
Create an environment that will nurture focus. Turn off your phone or put it on ‘Do Not Disturb’, close your email, remove yourself from physical distractions. Before starting your task, think about what might distract you and make sure you minimise them.
The basics of reaching flow state is by doing something you love. You won’t reach for your phone or hunt down for distractions when you’re fully engrossed and enjoying what you’re doing.
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