Think about a time when you were doing something that completely lit your soul on fire, something that was so encompassing that you didn’t even notice the passing of time.
You were feeling elated, like nothing else mattered, immersed in the present moment. As if time stood still. As you reflect, It could have be moment shared gazing into the eyes of another. A moment of bliss as you live your best life. A moment where you are completely absorbed in the passion of your creations. And even a moment surfing or running when everything felt easy & effortless, as if you couldn’t do a thing wrong, even if you tried.
This is called being in a “flow state,” and is described as a person performing an activity with a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process.
Take a minute to remember what activities have allowed you to fully immerse yourself in the process. It might be writing, drawing, teaching, speaking, surfing, snowboarding, yoga, working out, running….the list is endless.
Here are 5 ways to tap into a flow state to live a more fulfilling and happier life. Because who wouldn’t want to be more in flow with the world around them?
5 ways to tap into your flow state, anytime
- Meditate more often: Slow down in this busy world.
- Take away distractions: Set boundaries & habits
- Have a clear vision; Sit in the end feeling
- Make sure it’s challenging enough; but not too much
- Have some high consequences; urgency & social accountability.
how to tune into your own flow state
1.Meditate more often
Being in flow can also be considered an experience of mindfulness. We are entering a heightened state of awareness whilst participating in whatever activity is allowing us to flow, and are being extremely present with what is going on around us. There are a handful of key areas — including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety — in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments. Challenge yourself to meditate for a few minutes each day; the more acquainted we are with meditation, the more mindful we will be, and the easier it will be for us to tap into our flow state.
2. Take away distractions
Producing flow requires long periods of uninterrupted concentration and deep focus. This means multitasking is out; choose one thing and one thing only and commit to that for that specific period of time. Consider turning your phone off, removing yourself from a distracting environment, or whatever it is that is preventing you from seamlessly flowing. Even as I write these blogs, if my phone pings, it takes me out of my zone and redirects my attention elsewhere. According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” So next time you’re trying to get in the zone, consider removing the distractions for a set period of time first.
3. Have a clear vision
Before you begin your activity, take a minute to visualise your goals and what you’d like to achieve. For example, if you’re about to go for a surf, visualise the perfect wave, how you want to move on it, how your body will feel whilst gliding across it. If you set some clear goals, your mind can focus on bringing that to fruition, and once that perfect wave comes, your body does the rest of the work. It’s almost as if you don’t even have to think. Our minds are great at bouncing around, going off on tangents, and wandering. Creating a vision on what you’d like to achieve, even if it’s small, is a great way to prime yourself to enter a flow state.
4. Make sure it’s challenging enough
There’s a beautiful little sweet spot of something being challenging enough that it keeps you engaged, but not too challenging that it’s frustrating and unenjoyable.
When you’re learning a new skill, there’s undeniably a period of time (short or long) where learning the skill is quite difficult, takes a lot of effort and concentration, and is probably frustrating at times. On the flip side of the coin, if the task is too dull, attention can wander, and you won’t be as focused on what you’re doing. If the activity is either too easy or too hard in comparison to the skill level, the experience of flow will be weak.
To get in the zone, find the perfect balance; make sure you’re feeling challenged and engaged, but that it’s not completely over your head.
5. Have some high consequences
Whether it be a deadline or an environment that is a little bit dangerous, when our adrenaline gets up there, it’s easier for us to tap into the flow state. That’s because when the body is flooded with adrenaline, the brain is engaged, focused, and able to handle cognitive tasks more quickly. A few other interesting things adrenaline can do to our bodies is heighten our senses, clear our vision, help us breathe easier, and can block pain. So next time the stakes are a little high, try harnessing that energy and using the adrenaline in a positive way.
Being in flow increases happiness and can even encourage more positive emotions in daily life. With these positive emotions comes resilience; resilience to better cope when things take a downturn, or when negative thoughts try to weasel their way in. People in the flow state have shown to achieve a higher level of performance in not only their work, but their daily habits as well. Tune into a lifestyle where you experience many moments of flow, whether in your work, hobbies, or passions. That alone will allow you to lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
Being in flow increases happiness and can even encourage a positive mental attitude (PMA) and subsequent positive emotions. With these positive thoughts & emotions comes resilience; resilience to better cope when things take a downturn, or when negative thoughts try to weasel their way in.
People in the flow state have shown to achieve a higher level of performance in not only their work, but their daily habits & life as well.
Tune into a lifestyle where you experience many moments of flow, whether in your work, hobbies, or passions. That alone will allow you to lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
Chase bliss, tune into the flow and forget the details
CALL TO EMBODIMENT
JOURNAL FOR 10MINS today or in the morning and ask yourself this…
Reflect on 3 times where you have experienced flow in your life. Paint them in detail to understand how you arrived there, not just what you experienced.
Considering Csikszentmihalyi’s eight characteristics of flow;
Name 3 that you are doing well
Name three areas that you could improve
Once identified. Do something about it today. Trial any of the strategies mentioned above and see if you can tune yourself into flow. Through action and even through non-action.
If you this resonates or kicks you into flow please share your journey with us. We want to cheer you on from where we all stand.
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Academic Flow Writer for Selfcare
Lo is an academic writer from Canada with a a background in teaching, language, communication and creative design. Her passion is to empower all women to stand independently on their own two feet. Living their best life and serving from a place where vulnerability, courage & radical honesty is power. Nothing to hide, no one to blame & most importantly; no regrets.