How being in “flow” can help you find inner happiness

The term flow was coined by Millay Csikszentmihalyi to describe a highly focused mental state. His book written in 1990, “Flow: The psychology of optimal experience” is in greater demand today than ever before.

To be in flow is when you are so engrossed in an activity that time seems to pass very quickly and you have mental time out from your usual day to day worries. It’s a great way to recharge the batteries and maintain good mental health.

Being in a state of flow is about doing something you find enjoyable and increasing your skill level.  So activities such as a game of chess, painting, playing a musical instrument for example are good examples of this because not only are you getting into a flow state of mind, you are doing something to increase your skill level. On the other hand, whilst watching television or scrolling through facebook can put you in a state of immersion, they are not good examples as despite the activity being relaxing and helping time pass quickly, there is no sense of challenge or achievement.

Flow requires practice and patience and learning to manage anxiety about the challenge at hand. Achievements from these activities can put you in a positive state of mind because they take you away from your busy lives and worries. When choosing a new hobby it’s important to persist and not give up too soon. Sometimes it takes some time to find your “flow” but your happiness levels will start to grow in the long run.

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