What Is A Flow State: The Psychology Behind & Its Benefits

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What is flow state

Have you ever experienced a moment where everything is flowing with a sense of liquidity between body and mind? Did you feel totally absorbed in the moment and the focus was heightened? If you have experienced the situation then you have already crossed the flow state, maybe without realizing it.

A lot of people describe flow as ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the moment’. In fact, this state helps one feel much more involved in any activity while also enjoying it with in-depth senses.

What Is A Flow?

what is flow

One of the founders of positive psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, identified and researched flow and explained it as a state of complete immersion into one activity. The mental state in flow is focused and the person tends to enjoy every aspect of it.

Csikszentmihalyi explained in an interview, ‘The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you are using your skills to the utmost.’

It has to be noted that flow is experienced in a different manner with different people and often shows up when you are skilled at something and enjoy it thoroughly. Activities like painting, writing, sketching or playing a sport like tennis, swimming, dancing or skiing are connected with a flow state of mind and body.

The 8 Characteristics Of Flow

The 8 Characteristics Of Flow

Image source: PositivePsychology

The psychologist Mihaly explained 8 unique characteristics of flow and they are:

  1. Complete concentration on the task
  2. Complete clarity of agenda and goals along with feedback and rewards
  3. Time transformation like speeding up or slowing down
  4. Effortlessness in the activity
  5. Experience is rewarding to the soul
  6. A unique balance between skills and challenge
  7. Merging of actions and awareness
  8. Feeling of control over the task

The Motivation Behind Flow

Before you figure out how to induce flow within yourself, you require a strong motivation behind. In that case, there are two major types of motivation which are intrinsic and extrinsic. In brief, intrinsic motivation comes from within and you perform the activity because you actually love doing it. Whereas extrinsic motivation can be a little short lived as it is driven by rewards like earning more money, getting promoted or validating your skills. This is why it is usually the intrinsic motivation which causes flow more than other types of motivation.

The Benefits Of Flow

Entering a flow state means you are going to achieve numerous benefits out of it. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased engagement: People experiencing flow feel fully drowned in the task while enjoying every bit of it.
  • Improved performance: The state of flow is capable of enhancing performance and productivity of a person in a variety of fields.
  • Greater happiness and enjoyment: Nothing could be better than enjoying an activity to such an extent that it gives you a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness within and a state of flow is capable of the same.
  • Emotional regulation: As the flow increases, one can achieve higher consciousness and better emotional regulation. The skills developed are capable of making better decisions and eases life problems.

How To Enter In A Flow State?

In order to enjoy a flow state of mind and induce flow state, you need to take care of few things

  1. Taking care of the task which is presently in your hand without bothering what is going on in the world.
  2. The task shall neither be too tough to crack or too easy to end quickly.
  3. The activity you choose should be the one you are already skilled at.
  4. Focus on the journey rather than the output alone.

Now here are some additional points which you could do to encourage the flow state.

  1. Add An Element Of Challenge In Your Fun: If you are good at painting, draw something which you have not tried but are willing to try. If you are good at skating, try skating on one foot alone. Make sure that the challenges are neither too low nor too high so that they break the flow of state.
  2. Cut Off All The Distractions: If your environment is loaded with numerous distractions then it can break your experience and concentration which doesn’t allow proper focus on the task at hand.
  3. Make Clear Goals: The psychologist explains that the flow is most likely to occur only when the individual has clearer goals to a specific task and can entirely focus on the session.

Wrap-Up

We believe that you have learned about the importance of flow state, benefits and its application in your personal life through this blog. Would you like to try it out soon and tell us how you felt in the flow? If yes, share your thoughts and views with us in the comments section below.

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