Have you ever experienced the State of Flow?
The State of Flow (or State of Fluidity) occurs when we are so immersed in an activity that it seems that time flies and we enjoy the pleasure of every second that passes. If you have ever experienced the State of Flow, you will have noticed that you are so concentrated or concentrated on what you are doing that you forget what is happening around you and do not want that moment to end.
The term Flow ( flow in English) is introduced by Mihály Csikszentmiháyi and is related to creativity, talent and happiness, and is one of the basic pillars of positive psychology. For Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2009),
“The flow or State of Flow is a subjective state that people experience when they are completely involved in something to the point of forgetting about time, fatigue and everything else except the activity itself.”
How do we experience the State of Flow?
The State of Flow feels pleasant and liberating, as we are immersed in an activity that stimulates our passions, curiosities, interests and our senses. We lose track of time and a state of creativity and productivity is very high. If you have ever experienced the State of Flow, you will have noticed that:
- Attention is focused on the task and you experience a high degree of concentration
- The activity is inherently rewarding
- There is a pleasant feeling related to what you are doing
- You get lost in time
- The task is perceived as achievable and you think you are competent to carry it out
- You notice that you have control over the effort you put in.
- The feeling of fatigue disappears
- The state of consciousness is almost automatic, it does not require effort
Tips to get you to the State of Flow
The State of Flow is related to well-being and happiness, since it is pleasant activities that make us feel special and happy with our life.
Following the contributions of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, here are some tips to be able to flow and reach the optimal state in which your task will become very rewarding.
1. Do something that is interesting to you
The Flow State appears naturally when there is intrinsic motivation or you are curious about the activity you do. To increase productivity and creativity in what you are doing, you must enjoy what you do.
2. Set clear and achievable goals
The objectives that you set in the activity must be specific and achievable. If you get the goals in that activity in tune with your skill level, you may be able to flow during the performance. On the contrary, if the goals you set are a degree of difficulty that requires you to overexert yourself, then it can be stressful.
You have to understand that if the task you are going to perform does not represent any degree of difficulty, it is very possible that you will get bored. The key is that there is an appropriate level between the motivation for the task and the ability to do it.
3. Find a quiet time and avoid distractions
For many people, a quiet place is better to induce a State of Flow. In this way, it is easier that there are no distractions and you can enjoy the moment in its entirety. Continuous interruptions are not conducive to the flow state being present. If you want to be more productive, you can identify the time of day when you perform the most. Some people work best in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some in the evening.
4. Hold attention for as long as you can
Once you’ve found that quiet moment without distractions, try to keep your focus on the task. Sometimes, especially if you are practicing an activity for the first time, it is normal that you do not spend a lot of time focused. As you master the activity, you will have more time to enjoy it. On the other hand, you must pay attention to physiological needs (such as eating, going to the bathroom, drinking, etc.) because they interfere with your level of attention. Therefore, it is important to meet these needs to favor the State of Flow.
5. Your skill level should match the difficulty of the task
If our skill level is in tune with the activity we do, the more pleasant it will be for us. In other words, if we are well prepared to do something, there are more possibilities to experience the State of Flow. But adding a little bit of difficulty to the task can keep our motivation high. The problem arises when the task becomes big, then it stops being pleasant.
6. Focus on the process, not the result
The Flow State or Fluency is related to the accomplishment of the task, not with the result. An attractive result can be motivating too, but what is really important is to enjoy what you do. The State of Flow refers to having fun in the present, that is, to getting lost in that moment of happiness.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). The flow. Positive emotions (181-193). Madrid: Pyramid Editions.