Have you ever been so absorbed in an activity that you were able to tune out all distractions and lose track of time? Did your body and mind feel like you were in a special rhythm? Maybe you were running a race, and you were focused completely on your body. Or when you were writing or painting, all your creativity seemed to come out of nowhere.
This magical feeling is called a “flow state.” But as incredible as this sounds, you can’t achieve this by snapping your fingers, but with a bit of practice, anyone can achieve this state of mind regularly.
Put simply, a flow state is that feeling you get when your mind and body are completely focused on what you’re doing. Your senses are heightened, and it’s hard to get distracted. You’ll experience such high levels of clarity and intensity in your activity that time will fly by. You’ll feel a sense of happiness and fulfillment which will last long after your activity is finished.
While most of us have achieved this type of vitality at some time or another, some people have never experienced a flow state before. Even those who have often find it difficult to get back into this mode.
It’s impossible to force yourself into a flow state, but there are a few things you can do to help you achieve this amazing state.
Do what you enjoy. It’s important to do something you feel passionate about and enjoy doing if you want to get into a flow state. If your task feels monotonous or you dread doing it, you’re likely not going to feel flow naturally.
Avoid distractions. Even though you’ll start to tune out any interruptions once you’re flowing, try to avoid them while you’re still working. If you’re on the cusp of entering a flow state, distractions certainly won’t help.
Challenge yourself. If you’re working towards a goal that you’re passionate about, that makes it easier to achieve this high level of vitality. You want a task that will challenge you but not so much that it’s difficult.
Concentrate on the doing, not the finishing. If your mind is thinking forward to the end result of your project, you’ll find it tougher to get into the moment. Focus only on the journey — the drawing, the running, the playing of the sport — and you’re more likely to get into a flow state.
Create rituals. If you find you’re entering flow states more often, think about what you’ve done to get there. Start creating small rituals to achieve the same state each time. You may want to work at a certain time each day, light a candle before you start, or brew yourself a cup of your favourite tea. This will signal to your mind that you’re ready.
Use mindfulness and meditation. If you’re struggling with achieving vitality, try practicing mindfulness or meditate instead. The concepts are similar and can also bring on euphoric, flow-like feelings, and most people can relax and experience mindfulness with just a little bit of practice. Meditation and mindfulness are how you train your brain to getting you in the flow.
The more you practice vitality training, the easier it’ll be to tap into finding your flow more often. You’ll notice your creativity soars, and you’ll feel at peace and more fulfilled. Find out more information on vitality training and other ways you can utilize your mind and body to its fullest through neuroscience here.