Have you ever experienced the feeling that you were so immersed in a specific activity that you have lost track of time? Have you been doing any activity to the point that you only attended to that, and the rest of things have gone to the background?
Have you experienced that “time has flown by”? If the answer is yes, you may have been closer to savoring the state of Flow than you imagine.
What is the state of Flow?
The state of Flow is a positive emotional state that was developed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, one of the most prestigious psychologists in positive psychology research.
When this state is experienced, the person is totally absorbed in an activity for their own pleasure and enjoyment, where time flies, and actions, thoughts and movements follow one another without hardly stopping.
Flow is a positive emotional state that is characterized by total involvement in the activity we are doing, not caring about anything else, while maintaining an absolute degree of concentration.
In this state, it seems that we have control over our destiny, feeling great satisfaction, since the experience is in itself pleasant, encompassing much more than mere fun, no matter at that moment, neither the adversities nor the problems that happen.
Our whole being is focused on the task, using and taking our skills and abilities to the extreme. In the Flow state, we find ourselves doing what we really want , this being a spontaneous feeling of little effort.
When it occurs?
The state of Flow occurs when the capacities and abilities that we have are in balance with those challenges and challenges that the activity presents. The goals, therefore, will be realistic and the task will be neither too easy nor too difficult, as it is in harmony with one’s own abilities.
We can experience this positive emotional state when doing any type of activity , such as painting, writing, playing sports or having a conversation with someone. This happiness can be experienced by anyone, as long as the requirements that we have previously explained, related to maintaining the balance between skills and the complexity of the activity, are met.
It is important to find or detect those activities in our lives that allow us to experience the state of Flow or fluency, since they will be those that allow us to do well or excel, as well as the satisfaction of giving life a greater meaning and value.
What are the characteristics of flow?
Some defining characteristics of flow are:
- Decreased self-awareness.
- Balance between the challenge and the skills of the person.
- Union of action and thought.
- Elimination of fear of failure.
- Continuous feeling of surprise by carrying out the activity.
- The activity is an end in itself.
- You do what you want to do safely.
- Time distortion.
- Elimination of distractions.
How can we get to Flow?
To cultivate the state of Flow we can:
- Make each activity or task a game.
- Concentrate on activity, seeking transcendence or ecstasy.
- Set a goal.
- When doing the activity, seek maximum efficiency and not maximum effort. -Control our state of consciousness. -Don’t chase success.
- Overcome apathy and desire to procrastinate in everyday activities.
- Letting go in the process of carrying out the activity. Surely the key is to do what we want in the best possible way and as far as our abilities indicate us.