Flow

iPhone photography: cherry tree

iPhone photography: cherry tree

Have your ever lost yourself in what you were doing, so much so that you lost track of time? Felt challenged in a good way, and so fully engaged that time flew by? Then you've been in a state of Flow.

Flow is a mental state of consciousness. An effortless, automatic, ecstatic mental state when you step into an alternative reality.

You're highly focused and concentrated on an activity when you have flow. Fully engaged and in control.

You're so entirely absorbed in the task at hand that your sense of time is distorted, you feel part of something larger. It’s almost as if you don’t exist or as though you are one with what you are doing.

When a person is in flow, the activity, such as art, play or work, is a reward in itself. It’s worth doing for its own sake. It is its own reward. Experiencing flow makes you feel happy. Elated. Euphoric. Delighted.

“When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” –Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The term flow was coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity. Csikszentmihalyi teaches psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, and focuses on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. In this video Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi speaks about flow at this talk held at TED.

Which activities bring us flow? The other day my friend said “isnt’ it GREAT when you get into house cleaning flow!?” And then we laughed. But it’s true, so many different activities can give flow! What are your favorite areas for flow?

© 2014 Marmalade Moon