First, let’s start off with the question, “What is flow state?” Flow state is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one’s sense of time.
In other words, flow state is when your mind is at its best. In this state, you are completely immersed in the present moment and able to block out distractions very easily, allowing you to have deep focus with the task at hand. This state is often achieved during sports and physical activity, but also can just as easily be achieve with creative tasks like writing, drawing, or playing an instrument.
Research has shown us that people who get into flow state more often, generally live happier lives. But how do we get into this flow state? What hacks can we use to get the most out of this ‘too good to be true’ state of mind?
There are a few principles that must be true in order to achieve flow state. For one, there needs to be risk. This risk could be physical, mental, financial, psychological, spiritual, or any other way you can think of. As it turns out, our bodies’ can’t distinguish between the types of risk. It only recognizes risk as one entity, which is why any type of risk will work just fine. The presence of risk turns our minds up a notch and allows us to fully focus. Another principle of achieving flow state is to completely cut out distractions. For more physical tasks, this is much easier. But for creative tasks for instance, keeping your phone out of sight or turning off the TV will help you achieve this state much better. Leaving out distractions helps your mind focus on the task at hand. The more immersed you are in the one task in front of you, the more likely you’ll reach flow state. The next principle is there needs to be struggle. You need a challenging task in order for you mind to fully immerse in whatever activity you’re doing. By having a challenging task, your concentration will increase and it will give you a chance to achieve past your goal. This overachievement is the essence of flow state. Going beyond what you think is possible for yourself is like a highway for achieving flow state.
To sum up, to achieve flow state there must be some degree of challenge and risk. There can be a little or a lot of each of these, but they both must be present. It’s also important to eliminate any distractions to enhance your mind’s ability to focus on the task at hand.
Here are some easy everyday activities that will help you get into flow state:
- Exercise releases dopamine in your brain and helps your mind focus and be alert. This causes your mind to be more attentive and more active in what you are doing. If you are in a lull, try going for a walk or run. After about 20 minutes or so, you should be feeling better.
- Creative work like drawing, painting, writing, ect.
- This creative endeavor helps people get in touch with their creative side. Creative projects without distractions can help you lose track of time and really immerse yourself in what you’re doing.
- Trying something new
- This is my favorite method for achieving flow state. Trying something new forces your mind to pay attention to whatever’s being taught. Since the content or activity is new and refreshing, it’s easy to pay close attention and block out all other stressful distractions.
- Listening to the right music
- You may be thinking music is a distraction and I already said cut out distractions. That is true, but music is not necessarily a distraction. Music can be used to drown out outside noise and other distractions going on around you. It helps to listen to the same song or same genre of music. Pick something light and easy to listen to on repeat to help yourself block out external distractions and focus your mind.
These are only a sliver of things you can do to achieve flow state. The important part is to remember to concentrate on one very specific task. The longer you are able to concentrate, the more likely you will achieve flow state. Flow State = Happy State. Finding ways to achieve flow state will make you a happier person, push you to achieve new heights, and increase your overall self-confidence. Drop a comment below if you have ever experienced flow state or have tips in achieving this magical mindset.