I love the brain of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Chick-sent-meehayee).  In fact I wrote 8 pages about him in my doctoral dissertation.  I am fascinated by his research into the human state of flow, or what you might know as “being in the zone.”  He describes it as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus and complete involvement in the process of the activity.  He was a forerunner in sports psychology and wrote about individuals moving into a flow state.  The first three characteristics are basic prerequisites to get into flow and the other five address the subjective experience during activity when you are in flow.  The eight stages are:


Prerequisites of Flow
1.  Clarity of goals and immediate feedback
2.  A high level of concentration on a limited field
3.  Balance between skills and challenge

The Experience during Flow
4.  The feeling on control
5.  Effortlessness
6.  An altered perception of time
7.  The melting together of action and consciousness
8.  When the outcome of the goal is rewarding, but the activity itself is fulfilling.

The question I pose to you is “When was the last time you were in Flow?”  This state of being is important to you as a human because happiness levels can be shifted and increased through the introduction of more flow into your life.  Happiness is a state that can be adapted.  Happiness and fulfillment in life take a committed effort to manifest in your life.  You are most creative, productive and often the happiest when you experience this optimal performance state of flow.  Missing out?  It may be time to pick up a hobby and find something that so intrigues and excites you that you spend time creating and developing a talent.  So if you are unhappy, stressed out or sick of the rat race it may be the sign you need to spend an hour or two or maybe even three on finding a bit of “FLOW.”  Need help?  Ask my assistant Emily who is queen of creating flow in her life and finding the coolest things to do and experience in everyday life.  (Rollerderby, sailing………need I go on?)

Dr. CK Bray

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