6 Steps to Enter the Flow
You’ve heard about how a musician loses herself in her music, or how a painter becomes one with his painting. Time stops, and only total focus on the activity remains.
This is called *being in the flow,* an experience that is both demanding and rewarding… and perhaps the most enjoyable and valuable experience you can have.
Hungarian-born psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, the father of the flow concept, describes the experience as being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. 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’re using your skills to the utmost.
He determined that flow occurs when we are totally absorbed in some activity that is neither too easy nor too difficult for us. If the activity is too easy, we fall into boredom — while if itâ€™s too difficult, we become anxious or stressed.
But it the activity is just right we find ourselves in the state of flow, just like children at play.
Build Flow Mind Power
Learning how to enter into the flow has the potential to immediately improve the quality of your life and build your mind power. Csikszentmihalyi found that being in the flow actually increases your brain power, and that the longer you remain in flow, the more complex your mind power becomes.
The easiest way to understand how flow increases mind power is this: When you perform a task that is too easy, your mind wanders from your work, and you have low mental focus. When something is overwhelmingly too difficult, on the other hand, anxiety and frustration set in.
Neither boredom nor anxiety lead to good mental focus.
Most often we move in and out of flow without realizing it. Any stimulating activity that completely fills your conscious attention can put you there. But the minute you feel worry, boredom or insecurity creeping in, you are out of the flow.
Here’s a reliable step-by-step methodÂ to createÂ a state of flow in your life:
Step 1. View your task as a game. Like any serious game, you need feedback to keep yourself challenged, and the most basic form of feedback is keeping score. Establish the objective of your selected task as an actual goal, recognize the challenges to be overcome, and decide on any rules and rewards.
Step 2. Decide on and focus on your purpose. As you play your game, constantly remind yourself of the underlying purpose that is driving you. This goes beyond the goal, it is the reason for the goal.
Step 3. Strengthen your focus. Become aware of your thoughts. If you find your mind drifting or filled with anxiety, you have moved away from the zone. Refocus on the task at hand, and adjust the difficulty until you become fully engaged in the details of the task.
Step 4. Surrender to the process. This is perhaps the greatest mystery of the flow process. As you practice Step 3, you will find yourself enjoying the process of simply focusing completely on the task without straining or undue efforting. As you do, you will begin to experience periods of timelessness.
Step 5. Embrace ecstasy. The most interesting part of this process is the natural result of the previous four steps. You are going to be suddenly hit by surprise with a feeling of ecstasy. Youâ€™ll recognize it. When it happens, you are solidly in the flow.
Step 6. Enjoy peak productivity. The state of ecstasy is actually a whole brain phenomenon in which your entire cortex vibrates at one coherent frequency. It is unmistakable. You will have the sensation of creating without thinking, and your productivity will attain unheard of heights.
Flow and The Zone
The state of flow has direct ties to the state of being athletes call *the zone,* and also to the desired end state of Zen Buddhism. But the experience applies equally well to any endeavor, however simple or complex. Think of the minute complexity of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and the intense mental focus required to perform it correctly.
Increase Your Probabuility of Entering Flow
An excellent way to increase your probability of entering into the flow is to train your brain to release stress — since only then can you achieve the required clear focus.
Regular visits to the Quantum Brain Gym for brainwave training will get you into the FLOW painlessly. Join and spend 10 to 15-minutes a day with brainwave training. Try it! You’ll be amazed at the differences in your mental clarity and focus. Click here!
posted by Jill Ammon-Wexler