This delicious state of flow

Flow painter Have you ever experienced this incredible state of well-being, maximum concentration, loss of notion of time and of yourself, by doing something? Whether it's reading an exciting thriller, embroidering a cushion, running a marathon, painting a picture, cooking a dish, playing guitar or climbing a mountain? If this is not the case, I invite you to do everything to know at least once in your life this mental state of maximum completeness… Because it's just pure happiness. Flow child book Entering a state of flowis indeed experiencing a moment out of time, a moment when you let go while being completely in what you are doing. You do not feel fatigue, hunger or cold, you are not distracted by noise, smells or discussions around you. Your attention is entirely focused on what you are doing. You feel a deep well-being… that you realize that after having lived it! It can be found in many fields: sport, artistic creation, spirituality, love… This concept of flow (or flow, or zone) is one of the key elements of positive psychology, discovered and developed by the famous Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi by studying happiness and human creativity. It is a mental state that is essentially derived from motivation: the fact of doing something that we love, to the point of "forgetting" ourselves, of having the feeling of "being one" with what we are doing.It is a total immersion, which can be seen by some as "the supreme experience". All our emotions are concentrated in the service of realization, learning and performance. Body and mind are coordinated and channeled into the task we perform. We then feel the feeling of being "centered", of being ourselves, of being the best of ourselves, we experience calm but immense joy, even … ecstasy.The flow also has many similarities with the state of hyper-concentration, when we "get lost" (we find ourselves, in fact …) in an activity. At the expense sometimes of those around us… Kendra Cherry, Jeanne Nakamura and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi have identified the aspects that determine a psychological flow experience:

  1. An intense concentration focused on the present moment,
  2. The disappearance of the distance between oneself and the task that one performs,
  3. Loss of self-awareness,
  4. The feeling of control and power over the activity or situation,
  5. The distortion of the perception of time,
  6. The activity is in itself a source of satisfaction,
  7. Immediate feedback: successes and difficulties during the process are immediately identified and behaviour adjusted,
  8. the sense of potential success,
  9. The feeling of such an exciting experience that the other needs seem negligible.

I experienced this state as a child when I started reading science fiction novels. Lying in the living room, I could not hear anything or anyone, I could not see the time pass, I did not feel hunger. I then knew him by practicing hip-hop dance, when by dint of doing, redoing, repeating the same movements, the mind let go, and the body took the place. My teacher had also told us that he made us repeat until fatigue prevented us from thinking, because in dance, as in other sports, it is actually the body that learns, not the brain. And oh miracle! … This step that I could not chain, my body realized it alone. State of ecstasy… This state of flow,I also found it in writing, in graphic design, in DIY, during hikes in nature,often at the moment when I reached a level of physical fatigue that made me go into a "automatic" mode quite great. I may be predisposed to motivation and concentration, but I think it's also the passion for what I do that brings me into this psychological state at times. It feels like… carried by a current ("flow" in English). One experiences a deep sense of serenity, and the feeling – rare – of going beyond the limits of one's ego, of transcending it. We feel in a state of comfort, without feeling any effort, conflict or stress. The problem is that when you know this feeling in certain activities, it sometimes becomes difficult to motivate yourself to do others, less motivating, less exciting. It's always better than knowing a life without any pleasure in doing what you do… but it can sometimes lead to a kind of dependence on what we like, to the detriment of the rest. A passionate painter will neglect his bills, his medical appointments or his food. A gamer (video game player) will in extreme cases, as in China or Japan, become dependent on this pleasure shoot to the point of forgetting to feed, wash, and even sleep. flow gamer As in all areas of life, it is therefore good to find the right balance. I will develop in the next articles two notions:

  • How to put yourself in the necessary conditions to achieve the flow in your actions
  • How to develop your life so that it contains a maximum of activities generating this feeling of flow.

Because yes… if the flow can only be generated by doing what we love, then the question arises of creating a life that is filled to the maximum of what motivates us… Two books by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi to read if you are interested in this concept: Living: the psychology of happiness, Robert Laffont, 2004. Creativity: psychology of discovery and invention, Robert Laffont, 2006. This delicious state of flow, an article signed Sophie Girardot.The text of this article is the property of its author and may not be used without his consent and under certain conditions. Sources / Credits Contact me by email:

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Sophie Barbarella

Writer and Public Speaker

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