Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Happiness and flow

Have you ever been so immersed in what you’re doing you lose track of time? Focusing so intently on the task at hand you’re not conscious of what you’re thinking or feeling? Every action you take is automatic, you’re using your skills to the best of your ability and you feel energised in doing so?

We might use phrases such as being ‘in the moment’, on the ball’, or ‘in the zone’ to describe these feelings and according to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, these experiences also describe a mental state known as ‘flow’.

Flow can be experienced in many ways. Some people experience it while engaging in sport and others during creative pursuits. It can last for minutes, hours, days or longer periods of time. Flow is an inner state of being that brings us happiness because we become absorbed in activities which have meaning and purpose and as a result, feel connected to our inner self and others. So, how do we experience flow and achieve happiness?

Factors for achieving flow
The following factors have been identified as being important, but not all are necessary for flow to occur:

  1. Clear, attainable, but challenging goals. 
  2. Strong concentration and focused attention. 
  3. An intrinsically rewarding activity. 
  4. Feelings of serenity - a loss of feelings of self-consciousness. 
  5. Timelessness - feeling so focused on the present that you lose track of time passing. 
  6. Immediate feedback. 
  7. Knowing the task is possible - a balance between skill level and the challenge presented. 
  8. Feelings of personal control over the situation and the outcome. 
  9. Lack of awareness of physical needs. 
  10. Complete focus on the activity itself. 
Look out for our next blog which discusses the benefits of flow and how to apply it to certain aspects of our lives.

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:  

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: opening soon!
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment