How Achieving a State of Flow Can Benefit You Every Day

Today, thanks to modern technology, we are fortunate to have everything at our fingertips and a constant stream of information ready to consume. But this can be a double-edged sword.  With so much information available to us at the click of a button, we can find ourselves swimming against a tsunami of wellness options.  Which avenue is right for you and just how many practices can you explore within the finite free time we have?

Happy active female lying on yoga mat looking at laptop

Well, here in lies the truth, it is not necessarily important which avenue or practice you opt for, but instead, how you intend to use the knowledge acquired to your physiological advantage.

In fact, ‘intent’ or ‘intention’ are the key words here.

Intention is Key

Let’s explore this further. Let’s say that you choose Yoga as your preferred health and wellness boost.  Great choice! Yoga, with all its variations and intricacies is a fantastic way to keep your mind and body in check.  Practiced regularly and safely, it keeps you active, flexible and mentally robust; which mixed all together is a great formula for keeping healthy all the way into your later years.

Mature male taking part in online yoga lesson

But what if you only learn and practice one particular style? Over time you become proficient, which some may see as a benefit.  However, only sticking religiously to one form or practice may not offer you enough longer term.  Without experimentation, adaptation or playing around with variations, your set practice may not be enough to keep you in a healthy state; especially if that rigidity affects your psychology and becomes an obsession.

You see, our minds and bodies function best when they are challenged and when we mix things up; so, keeping the mind and body guessing is a really important tool.  Being met with obstacles or challenges is one way of not falling foul of our subconscious routine. 

Happy male standing in nature

As the famous American-Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi put it:

“Of all the virtues we can learn no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.”

Having focused his work on the study of happiness and creativity, Csikszentmihalyi recognised the need that to increase our sense of ‘flow’ we need both an increase in challenges and skills.  

But What is ‘Flow’?

Well, put simply the state of ‘flow’ is a heightened focus and sense of immersion when taking part in a particular activity and is deeply attached to our productivity or creativity.

Therefore, by not expanding, experimenting or adding to a certain practice; the less likely we are to experience this level of fulfilment.

An increase in challenge and skill required can help us reach our ‘flow’ and increased level of motivation.  However, each and every one of us are unique; and as such the balance in achieving flow is equally exclusive. If a challenge is too difficult or equally too easy, we stray within the realms of either anxiety of apathy. 

Active couple stretching in gym

So, by choosing one practice and expecting that one practice, performed daily in rigid fashion to be enough; unfortunately, could mean you short change your physiological or psychological needs.

Finding ‘flow’ in your life, comes with practice, but also it comes with intention.  It is the intention that translates into consciously deciding each day how you are going to move, breathe, interact and feel your way through the waking hours, as opposed to following a confined existing pattern.

So, What Can We Do to Ensure We Arrive Each Day with That Intention? 

Well, making use of your senses, from kinaesthetic (how we move and make use of our musculature) to chemosensory (activating the ‘inner pharmacy’ of body derived chemicals) throughout the day is far more important. Taking time to touch, feel, smell and see the world around us; noticing different textures and challenging our perceptions, all count towards a state of flow.

Young male in nature touching stream of water

A walk to work through nature or carving out time to take a walk at lunchtime can be a great start. Choosing to run up that hill, touching and feeling the natural and man-made obstacles that we pass, engaging with our fellow humans in a positive way, consciously begin aware of our breath, lifting, pushing and pulling.  These simple additions to how we go about our lives makes use of our body’s many functions.  We engage all our senses, we live as we once did, before the creation of ‘things’, which were manufactured to make our lives easy.

Establishing a structure to your day that encompasses a variety of health enhancing practices and principles can be tricky.  Many of us have the perception that our free time is limited and don’t have the knowledge of which practices will benefit them the most.

Young female in yoga pose on mat

But, by exploring, playing, and experimenting with all that the world has to offer, we may just find a healthy balance and steer ourselves away from the stresses, strains and maladies that are ever present in today’s world.

So, do practice Yoga, do try Breath-Work, do Meditate, and do go for a run, just don’t expect that one thing to be your panacea to life.  This engagement of your senses is just one doorway to achieving and experiencing ‘flow’, there are of course many more.


Want to keep learning? Find out more about the author - David Florence

Mental Health and Wellbeing

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