Everyday Happiness - Finding Harmony and Bliss

481-How to Increase Flow Experiences

September 25, 2022

Continuing our flow discussion, this episode of Everyday Happiness provides actionable advice on how to increase your flow experiences.  




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 we are continuing our discussion on "flow." I want to share a few methods which Sonya Lyubomirsky writes about in her book How of Happiness.

The first recommendation she makes to increase flow experiences is first to control attention. Essentially, to control your attention, you must give it your full focus. Rather than wondering what’s for dinner or checking your phone for the 10th time that hour, you must rid yourself of distractions to keep your attention on the task at hand. It isn't easy, but with practice, it will get better.

The second method to increase flow is to adopt new values. How she recommends doing this is to be open to new and different experiences as well as activate a drive for learning something new all the time. When you are trying or learning something new, do it with the wonder of a child rather than an adult who is too afraid to fail.

Third, she recommends learning what flows for you. Recognizing when flow works for us can be tricky, especially when we have preconceived notions of what or when we flow. For example, a study performed demonstrated that workers actually flow more when they are at work when performing high-skill tasks than they do when they are completing leisure activities at home.

However, when asked what they would rather be doing, workers regularly stated that they would rather be doing something else while working but keep doing the same thing at leisure. This misrepresentation is not beneficial, so it is important to evaluate yourself with an open mind.

Next, Sonya recommends transforming routine tasks. Let's face it; not every chore we complete can be fun, but by inserting microtasks into it, we can initiate a flow. An example she gave was us tapping our fingers to the beat of the music when driving. It is simple, but it takes effort and will keep your mind from wandering away from the road.

Next up is flow in conversation. You know those times when you get so deep in a chat with someone that you lose all concept of time…and end up being the last table sitting in the restaurant? This is what you want to aim for. If you find your mind wandering off in a conversation, give your all to listening to exactly what the person is saying, explore internally how it makes you feel, and expand the discussion with follow-up questions. The key point here, though, it to listen more than you talk.

Sonya also recommends pursuing "smart" leisure and "smart" work to increase your flow experiences. What does this mean? Smart leisure means taking on fun activities that activate your flow. While decompressing by watching tv or playing games is fine, you don’t want to spend the whole night doing it.

Smart work means identifying meaning in what you are doing. Rather than thinking of it as a 9-5 requirement to pay the bills, think of it instead as a way to help someone achieve their dream, improve their lives, receive comfort, or whatever works for you. Through a positive lens, you can enter the flow state easier than if you dread every minute of the day.

Lastly, you want to aim for superflow! Superflow is when you are all in on whatever you do with no concept or care of the outside world. You love it and want to keep going. Just keep in mind that superflow must come in moderation as it can be addictive. You never want superflow to hinder your responsibilities.

That's all on flow experiences for today, but I am curious. What gets you into a flow state or even a superflow state? Share with us in a 5 star review or on social @everydayhappinesswithkatie 


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