Flow experience is a concept defined by Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-American psychologist, to explain those moments when you’re fully and totally absorbed in an activity. Therefore, everything else is forgotten. You’ve got complete concentration and nothing else matters. You’re no longer conscious of what is happening around you. The rest of the world is abandoned.
How is it to be in Flow Experience?
When you’re in a flow experience, your focus is so complete that you forget about eating and sleeping. You’re not even conscious of yourself; you’re immersed in the activity you’re engaged in.
Furthermore, as you’re so engrossed in the action, your experience of time changes. You’re so absorbed the future and past are forgotten. Time absolutely flies by, although you’re unaware of this at the moment. It’s only once you come from the action that you notice just how much time has passed.
You may have a flow experience with any action that’s mindful and needs you to actively take part in it. As such, decent conversation, reading a book, playing game, working on your hobby, letter writing, gardening, even cleaning the house are examples where it is possible to experience flow. Passive activities like watching television aren’t conducive to a flow experience. You will most likely know when you’ve had a flow experience because you will find that feel-good buzz after of having participated in something engrossing.
Whilst you’re engaged on your action, you may feel completely in control and aren’t worried about failure or success. The action seems effortless but engaging. To the objective observer the action may appear risky and demanding (as an example, browsing ), but not to you, the player.
Most of us possess the capacity to take part in stream experiences and the more we have, the happier we are.
Why is it significant?
- Flow lets you focus and have complete control and concentration through a specific experience.
- Understanding flow lets you concentrate your attention at will, as opposed to waiting for something to come and catch your attention.
- Your abilities are being used at their very best — you’re giving your all.
- It can help you attain your objectives, as you’re free from intrusive thoughts and events.
- It is going to improve well-being and happiness.
- Understanding flow can help you realize why you are procrastinating on a certain issue. Have a look at the conditions necessary for a flow experience and reflect on them in regard to the task you’re struggling to commence.
The 3 states to a Flow Experience
Csikszentmihalyi stipulates three conditions that must be fulfilled in order to have a flow experience:
- Your preferred action should have a clearly defined set of goals. This can allow you to focus your energy and provide you direction.
- You want a great balance between your perceived abilities and perceived challenges. The key point here is ‘perceived’ instead of real. It’s a mind-state. If you think your skills far surpass the challenge, you will get bored as it is going to be too simple for you. Whereas, if you perceive the challenge as being too tough for you, you will end up frustrated.
- Feedback is vital. It will let you modify your activities if necessary, to keep you in the stream. The comments can be negative and positive. It can let you proceed and progress (providing you have the abilities to do so).
How to have more Flow Adventures
Flow can happen at any action, provided it is aware. What is important is the way the activity is performed. Have a look at the following tips to help you towards participating in regular flow adventures:
- Avoid multi-tasking. Trying to do two (or more) things at once is no way to achieve flow. It’s impossible to give your all to two jobs at exactly the exact same time. This will diminish your enjoyment and very possibly the outcome could be compromised. Try to cut back on multi-tasking even for the most ordinary chores.
- Try not to look at your email every five minutes if you’re working on a computer. Choose a time to read it and give it your complete attention.
- Limit your distractions. Is there anything in your environment that’s preventing you from attaining flow? Temperature, noise, design, objects, others, amount of lighting can make a difference.
- Determine your goals and break them down into achievable chunks. Ensure that these balls are sufficiently challenging to maintain your interest.
- Try new activities and develop new abilities. The further your skills grow, the more pleasure you’ll receive. You may experience frustration or boredom early on. So be careful to monitor your progress to inspect the action is interesting enough and within your capacity. Modify your goals if you want to.
- To prevent flow with a specific activity you’ll have to raise the challenge — one which you think you can meet. As your skills grow, the activity can get boring as it requires as much care. A new challenge won’t only your interest up but boost your expertise.
- How is your job? You spend a wonderful chunk of your life in work, so you really need to obtain as many stream experiences as you can. If you’re feeling bored, is there anything you can do to make it more challenging?
- Try to get regular feedback on what you’re doing. It might be from yourself or another individual.
- Avoid mindless activities that you don’t knowingly get involved in — for instance, watching television.