What is a flow state? Put simply, it is an optimal state of consciousness. It is something that we have all chased after at some point in our lives. In many sports you might hear people talk about being, ‘in the zone.’ Flow is the very thing that makes us come alive, I know that I can achieve this state by playing golf, or taking part in a ZUU class. So let's figure out how you find your flow state...
I was lucky enough to come across a book recently called The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler. He conducts several case studies on extreme sports stars; he centres his investigations on how the flow state has helped humans take huge leaps on the evolutionary scale in a very small period of time. He talks about the psychology behind some of the most daring men and women and refers to how they found their flow states and what it felt like.
So what does flow feel like? Well, for me it feels like I am calm yet excited, in control and creative, it feels like I can easily achieve what I set out to achieve. My mind becomes clear the world becomes my canvas and my body the paint brush. I'm sure it differs from person to person, and it is not something that I can control, in fact I don't think anyone can really control it.
Let me ask you these questions: have you ever lost yourself in a great conversation and before you knew it hours had passed? Have you ever been at work, really getting on with a project and looked at the clock to see that your day was almost over? The answer is bound to be yes, which means you have experienced a flow state! So how did you feel at the time?
Psychologists have determined that people with the most flow in their lives are happier and more productive people. A recent study in showed that 2 out of 3 adults hate what they do with the majority of their days. So if flow can provide happiness and the majority of us are not happy isn't it a case of trying to find out what triggers our flow? But how?
My advice is simple; start with something you really enjoy, it could be drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument, playing a sport, going for a long walk or writing and reading. Something that allows you to be alert and focused or happy and confident. For many of us it is about letting our creative mind take control. An example, Tiger Woods (I know, golf again), has said that he has moments where he doesn't remember actually hitting some of his greatest golf shots. He manages to get himself into a creative state that he can't really explain. He calls it a 'blackout moment', a moment where he is between being alert and focused and happy and confident. Have a look at this image to understand it better.
I'm talking about being present, being engulfed by the moment (staying in the moment) taking things second by second whilst doing something you love. There is not one true recipe for the flow state, you have to find it by trying something that makes you feel good, makes you happy and in my experience we as humans are happiest when we are moving with purpose, being creative and making the most of our lives.
The flow state is where dreams are born, don't you want to find yours?
Have a great weekend and I'll catch you again on Monday. Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.