In a flow where time seems to pass you, is often linked to happiness. But how do you get into a flow easily?
The 8 criteria of flow
When I'm in a flow, I'm present, but at the same time nowhere because the times seem to be flying past. I am one with the moment and with the thing I am doing at the moment and nothing else matters. Where I can normally be distracted very quickly, I have no idea what happened around me during a flow. I don't hear when the phone goes off, I don't think about it anymore when I can eat my next meal and the wax I actually had to do still wait. Being in a flow is delicious because it contributes to your creativity, performance, achieving your goals, you can concentrate better and your mindset and emotions are in balance. The following 8 criteria are needed to get into a flow:
- You are engaged in an activity for you
- You can focus
- You have a clear goal
- You get instant feedback
- You move forward without worrying
- You have a sense of control
- You have parked your self-esteem
- You have temporarily lost the sense of time
The Flow theory
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor who has become known thanks to his flow theory linked to positive psychology. According to him, you are happiest when you are in a state of flow. A flow is a state of mind in which you are so involved in an activity that seems nothing else more important. To achieve this, there must be a balance between the challenge of activity and your skills. I have this often when I'm fiddling around with my website because I like it, but it's still something new for me (i.e. other than writing the blogs), sometimes so I can go on for hours. A whole different way of flow is for me when I'm traveling. Then nothing else matters and I feel at my best. If you do not have enough challenge or skill, you will not come into a flow, but for example you are more worried, want to have control, find it boring or be relaxed.
The science behind flow
Scientific research in which the brain has been studied has shown that you are using your pre-frontal cortex much less when you are in a state of flow. This part of your brain takes your higher cognitive processes into account, such as analytical thinking and self-reflection. So as it were, you get a break from your pre-frontal cortex so you are free from your self-awareness and negatively talk to yourself. You will therefore be in a more relaxed and creative state. You don't think so: I can't do this, and what a stommeling I am. But you are here in the now and nothing else matters. This makes you feel instant happier. And, because in a flow you can often work very hard and concentrated, it is also more likely that you will achieve your goals faster, so that at the end you can also be mega happy with yourself and your results. Even more happiness!
How does flow contribute to greater happiness?
- You do things that you really like, even though they are challenging
- You feel less anxious and stressed
- You are more positive and more curious
- You prefer to do things instead of postponing them
- You're not bothered by boredom and you feel excited right
- You feel more creative
- You feel more relaxed
- You know your goals and get them faster
- You have the idea that you can meet the whole world
- You just feel tremendously well without any trouble
- You live in the now
- You are more productive
"Happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but, rather, on how we interpret them. "