going with the flow

Psychologists have a phrase called ‘flow’. It’s when you are so absorbed by what you are doing that you block out everything else and time seems to stand still. If you want to ma happier, think about how you could do more activities that engage you. Increase the number of experiences at home or work where you ‘lose’ yourself, and which are challenging and absorbing.

For me, I find myself absorbed when I’m writing, reading, or doing exercises like pilates. For others, it’s golf, gardening or cooking. The term ‘flow’ was coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He believes that flow occured when you are complelety focused on what you are doing. According to the definition on wikipedia:”It’s a single minded immersion and represents the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.” In other words, you are concentrating so much on what you are doing that you perform well. But it’s more than that. The hallmark of ‘flow’ is a feeling of happiness while performing the task.

Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow.
* Clear goals, with the challenge and skill level high.
* Concentration, a high degree of concentration.
* a lack of self-consciousness
* A distorted sense of time, where time seems to fly by
* Direct and immediate feedback
* A balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy or too hard
* A sense of personal control over the situation
* The activity is intrinsically rewarding so there is an effortlessness of action
* A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
* Absorption into the activity

So think about the activities and hobbies that make you happy and put you into the state of ‘flow’. The more of these activities that you can include in your life, the happier you will be. Send me an email about what makes you happy scott.sophie@ab.net.au
Bye for now.


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02 2011

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