To achieve greater happiness out of everyday tasks, it is critical that we understand and pursue “flow experiences.” Tune in today to learn more!
Welcome to Everyday Happiness where we create lasting happiness, in about 2 minutes a day, through my signature method of Intentional Margins® (creating harmony between your to-dos and your priorities), happiness science, and musings about life.
I'm your host Katie Jefcoat, and today I have a question for you. Have you ever become so involved in a task that time literally flies by? You aren't checking your watch? You forget that you're hungry or that your back hurts from hunching over? We often hear of people experiencing this when they play a sport, pray, talk with a dear friend, play a game, or work on a beloved hobby.
I’m sure that you have felt this before, but there is actually a name for it and a way to use it for your own happiness. This concept is called a “flow state,” and it was coined by Mihaly …hold on…gotta say this slowly….Csikszentmihayi (chick-SENT-me-hi). Phew..that was hard! We are just going to call him MC from now.
When MC coined this term, it was with the definition that a flow state is when a person enters a state of intense absorption and involvement with the present moment. Essentially, you are ALL IN with the moment, with very little concept of your surroundings or the passing of time. Prior to learning this term, me and mine called it “being in the zone.”
MC believed the key to a good life was frequently achieving the flow state. Sonja Lyubomsirky points out that this is a delicate balance. An activity, no matter what it is, that is too challenging and goes beyond one's skill can create stress or anxiety. Whereas an activity that is too easy can leave one feeling bored and restless. The flow state sits right in that sweet spot between, challenging you just enough to keep your full attention but not so much that it freaks you out.
Fortunately, we can experience the flow state in almost everything we do, whether at work, hanging with friends, or even cleaning the house. But why is it good for you? First of all, you are obviously deriving enjoyment from the activity. Second, it is rewarding. You know that feeling when you get so in the zone that a ton of stuff gets done? It's a significant accomplishment! We feel good about doing it. So good, usually, that we try to replicate it.
Now, here is where people run into problems. As you know, the more you do something, the easier it gets. So, for example, if practicing rollerblading gets you into the flow state, eventually, it will no longer be challenging enough to hold your attention. Your body adapts and it becomes something you can do with no thought. Therefore, you will have to make the activity harder, like learning spins or tricks, to achieve the same flow state. Challenging ourselves and making it just a bit of a struggle is the key.
Now that we understand the flow state make sure to tune in tomorrow to learn how to increase your flow experiences.
Until then, take a moment today to spread a bit of kindness to the world. And remember to follow me on socials!
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