Flow or 'flow state', as described by the great psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the experience of total immersion where our attention is absorbed effortlessly, our goals are aligned with what is meaningful, and the challenge we are facing is just right for our current level of development.
So often in the modern world we have trouble concentrating, focusing and paying attention and so we struggle to actually get done what we need to do to give our lives meaning, purpose and richness.
Luckily, we have tools at our disposal to counteract the impact of the distractions and disruptions of modern living - to enable us to really engage with life and achieve what we need to achieve.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's work is so significant, it probably needs a bit more attention! As one of the leading researchers in the world prior to is passing in 2021, his work is of interest to anyone interested in positive or performance psychology. I know he is a great influence to a couple of my own mentors and teachers in performance, therapy and martial arts practice.
At the Resilience Project and Brighton-Hypnotherapy.com, we are of course, interested in helping people to perform and achieve as well as to become happier, and provide more richness and meaning to their lives. The concept of Flow then bridges these two areas perfectly.
What Mihaly proposed then was that in order to achieve Flow we had to bring together several components of our inner environment. Now I admit I am grossly simplifying this, but this includes the experience of where our attention is absorbed effortlessly, our goals are aligned with what is meaningful to us, and the challenge we are facing is just right for our current level of development.
Now why is this relevant? Well the tools in our tool kit as hypnotherapists and cognitive behavioural therapists allow us to facilitate the pathway towards this synergy of experience and so can help lead us to greater performance, happiness and, I believe Flow.
How so? Mindfulness and attention training help us to become more present and focus on the task at hand; Hypnosis and visualisation allow us to practice and rehearse skills in our minds eye and become better and more competent at lower levels of arousal; Effective values-identification and values-based goal setting show us the direction and path we need to travel; and dealing with the internal and external barriers and challenges in our way (such as core fears, negative self talk and limiting beliefs) can help us pre-empt and deal with any internal stuff that comes up along the way and might derail our progress.
I would strongly recommend checking out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's works for more information. Or get in touch to see how we can help you on your journey towards Flow!