Entering FLOW

Words and imagery by Marie Isaac of Wellbeing By The Sea.

F L O W -  timelessness, where time literally stands still.

Time pressure is an almost universal problem in the modern world, caught on the treadmill that life is a race, never enough time, feelings of stress, forever multi-tasking. But can you remember a situation or experience when time was no problem, when you were so in the zone, that it seemed like time stood still.

Psychologist Csikszentmihalyi calls this moment of special engagement 'F L O W' . 

All of us have experienced flow at some time in our lives, whether through sports, creative work, listening to or playing music, video games, extreme activities etc.. and it is incredibly nurturing and nourishing for the soul. Flow is achieved when we are completely involved in an activity for its own sake, every movement and thought following on seemingly effortlessly from the previous one.

When your focus and concentration are fully devoted to one action - perception of time changes, nothing else seems to matter, self-judgement ceases and any discomfort goes unnoticed as you immerse yourself in a space of creativity and connection.

flow state

There is an obvious link between flow and mindfulness and typically people who practice meditation are more able to access and stay in these very nurturing states of flow. When we feel under time pressure, we tend to stop doing all of those things that really nourish our being and in turn focus more on those activities that deplete our energies, leading to feelings of stress, anxiety, separation and disconnection in the world.

So how in our daily lives can we achieve more of this magical state? Well no-one on their deathbed says 'I wish I spent more time at the office'.

Try to spend as much of your life doing more of what you love to do and keep getting better at it. Almost any activity can promote a flow state as long as there is a balance between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. It needs to be sufficiently challenging enough yet achievable and not too easy to ensue boredom. When you achieve this balance, you enter FLOW. 

I've achieved this sense of flow in many areas of my life and particularly whilst sailing - it just feels like its me and no-one else, a heightened perception, of complete connection, fluidity - almost otherworldly.