Everyone has had moments in their life where all distractions fade away and you begin performing at peak performance. Whether it is writing an essay on a time crunch or experiencing hyperfocus during a basketball game, there are few alterations in consciousness that are as exhilarating as entering a flow state.
Flow is a well-defined concept in positive psychology, first coined by Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi to describe a state in which one is “completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost” (Buchanan & Csikszentmihalyi, 1991).
Csikszentmihalyi defined 9 dimensions of a flow state experience:
- You must have a clear and attainable goal in-mind that is appropriate for your skill level
- You are maintaining a high level of concentration
- There is a loss of self-consciousness
- Time gets distorted, often feeling like it is going in slow motion
- You receive clear and immediate feedback from your behaviors in the activity to prompt modifications
- There is a balance between the skill you bring to an activity and the challenge of the activity
- You maintain a sense of control in the activity
- Your work during the activity is rewarding
- Your focussed awareness zones in to the activity
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Gold & Ciociari, 2020).
If you are looking to enter a flow state, my best piece of advice is to pursue activities that you are genuinely passionate about. By tapping into your passions, becoming hyper focused and effective becomes an easy endeavour!