Finding “Flow” activities and building Happiness.

flow happiness

We all have unique activities in which we can “lose our self”.

The point in which we are totally immersed in the task at hand and where we lose track of time and would disregard our need for food, water and even sleep.

Mihaly Csikszentmihályi describes this as;

      “Activities with a set of goals which require appropriate responses and give you immediate feedback on your work”.    

We waste too much time surfing Facebook,watching TV/internet Porn and going out drinking-it’s getting downright ridiculous. Yet we rarely enter into this flow-state of mind.

That is because flow activities require some sort of action.

Passive leisure activities won’t help you find your flow.

In fact,passive leisure activities produce the opposite of “flow”- similar to a state of mild depression.

“Unless one learns to use his time effectively,more leisure time does not improve life quality”- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

From flow-moments,we derive a high sense of satisfaction,accomplishment and emotional well-being.

Everybody should have (at least) one of these.

In Positive psychology, flow,also known as the zone,is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus,full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

A flow experience involves deep concentration,an optimal balance of skill & challenge, and a sense of control and satisfaction.

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They are jobs/tasks that we enjoy for the mere sake of doing it,feeling competent at challenging work.

How?

You can combine these by searching your own soul through journaling.

It will show you which activities gives you most joy.

By experimentation,you can adjust the frequency of the desired activities (and ditch the ones that suck). Take up some hobbies and experiment!

Flow can be found in many of your favorite activities: Yoga,gardening,painting,music,studying,bowling,……. I get my Flow from writing,cooking,hiking and weightlifting.

Flow experiences imply a growth principle. When one is in a flow state, he or she is working to master the activity at hand. To maintain that flow state, one must seek increasingly greater challenges.

Attempting these new, difficult challenges stretches one’s skills. One emerges from such a flow experience with a bit of personal growth and great “feelings of competence and efficacy.

The key is to find something that’s optimally challenging for your skill-level- you shouldn’t be overly  frustrated,but the challenge shouldn’t be too easy,either.

By identifying your “flow activities” and cultivating a “flow state of mind”, you’re not only building happiness but emotional resilience.

By regularly finding your flow activities and regularly engaging in a flow state of mind,you’re building happiness into your everyday life.

This also means removing everything that get you away from that “nice clean flow” mindset.

Remember that “flow activities” are not interchangeable with “leisure activities”

Most escape the feeling of apathy/emptiness with leisure activities (temporary escapes).

Here’s some of the leisure activities to eliminate from your life at all costs:

1. No TV,Ever.

You have two choice in this regard: keep watching the TV and never get anything accomplished or turn that motherfucking soul sucker off forever.

2. No unnecessary social media.

Instead of commenting on Facebook about some triviality you can accomplish something.

Go to the gym and pick up some weight,go for a hike,read booksanything but living living like a social media zombie.

3. No Porn,Ever.

It poisons and desensitize your mind/sex-life,gives you social anxiety and makes you extremely lazy.

Think about how sad that actually is. 

By regularly finding your flow activities and regularly engaging in a flow state of mind,you’re building happiness into your everyday life.

When times are good, flow enhances your sense of satisfaction and well being.

When times are tough, flow activities provide a sense of purpose and productivity, even though you’re struggling emotionally.

Additional reading:

 Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life (Masterminds Series) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (paperback)

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (ibooks)

4 thoughts on “Finding “Flow” activities and building Happiness.

  1. Awesome article George!

    Flow is a great book. The concept that Mihaly (I will never be able to remember his name) describes, is really effective to finding joy in the moment and growing as a person.

    It’s essentially fully immersing yourself in the moment. This is especially important when doing things you like so that you don’t just fiddle around doing nothing in the end but you actually get something done.

    But it’s also really effective to get into this flow mindset when you are doing mundane tasks that you don’t really like.

    If you fully immerse yourself in the activity, set yourself little challenges and goals and turn your mindset around, even the most mundane activities can start to be interesting and not that tiring.

    Like

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