The term “flow” has been used a lot lately, specifically in regard to achieving flow while working or concentrating. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a psychologist known for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, has described “flow” as a state of complete immersion in an activity with dedicated focus and minimal response to distractions. This state of mind has also been described as feeling “in the zone” or “in the groove”, and is a highly desirable state to be in – which begs the important question,”how can I achieve a state of flow?”
Benefits of Achieving FlowBeyond making work and other activities more enjoyable, achieving flow has a number of incredible benefits, some of which include:
- Improved Emotional Regulation: With improved focus and increased flow, individuals are able to progress in their emotional growth, and may find themselves better able to regulate emotions & feelings more effectively.
- Greater Sense of Happiness: Research has shown that achieving flow is linked to high levels of satisfaction, happiness, and self-actualization. Being in flow state is characterized as a positive experience for the individual, and can create strong feelings of enjoyment when in that state – which ultimately leads to an overall increase in satisfaction with life.
- Increased Engagement: By achieving flow, it means you are fully engaged in the activity you are doing. This engagement can be transferred to other aspects of people’s lives helping them to be fully present.
- Improved Performance: When flow is achieved, researchers have found that individuals perform tasks better. This has been seen in teachers, students, athletes, and artists. When one is in a state of flow, it’s likely that their brain’s conscious processing system is exchanged for a more efficient way of doing things, through their subconscious, intrinsic processing systems – leading to heightened attention and awareness of the task at hand, and creating a state of needle-like focus.
- More Fulfillment: People who achieve flow love what they do. Their activities become more enjoyable because they are so focused and intune.
- Greater Motivation: Flow is a positive mental state and those who achieve it receive internal rewards like increased enjoyment and motivation.
- Enhanced Creativity: Flow most often occurs when taking part in creative tasks which only enhance those creative activities to become more creative.
How Do You Achieve Flow?Flow can be achieved by practicing a few simple habits to improve focus and improve concentration.
- Eliminate Distractions: You will not be able to achieve flow if you have distractions. Instead, eliminate all distractions that will impede your focus.
- Ensure a Challenge: Flow occurs when the activity is interesting and challenging. If the activity is too easy, flow will not be achieved. Make sure there is a sufficient level of difficulty to keep your interest and focus peaked.
- Choose an Activity You Enjoy: More often than not, you will not achieve flow when participating in an activity you do not enjoy. For example, artists achieve flow because they truly love their art and their enhanced creativity allows them to become totally focused and concentrated.
- Train Your Brain: Train your brain to improve your focus. Without initial focus, you will never be able to achieve flow. If focusing is difficult for you, you will need to build up your ability to concentrate over time. This can be done by using a neurofeedback wearable.