So how can you make flow a part of your life?
First, realize that flow is not just about creative or athletic activity; it can be almost anything that makes you feel truly engaged in the present moment. Here’s what a mother said about how she experiences flow:
It happens when I am working with my daughter, when she’s discovered something new. A new cookie recipe that she has accomplished, that she has made herself, an artistic work that she’s done and she is proud of. Her reading is something that she’s really into, and we read together. She reads to me and I read to her, and that’s a time when I sort of lose touch with the rest of the world. I am totally absorbed in what I am doing.
In addition to creative and athletic activities, flow can be experienced with most other daily events, including family life, volunteer work, job tasks, and even cooking! As I mentioned above, you may already have something you like to do that carries you into a flow state. Try doing that activity more regularly or finding others that give you the same kind of experience. Ideally, get caught up in flow for at least 20 minutes each day.
If you often feel bored, emotionally drained or disengaged from life, flow might be just the thing for you.
It doesn’t matter what you do to experience flow as long as your daily life has moments of feeling engaged, cheerfully motivated, and attentive toward the present moment. Of course, life will not always feel this way, but you’ll be surprised at how a mere taste of flow can spice up your day. Just ask Carter Beauford—after he’s done playing the drums, of course.
1Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist, 54, 821-827.
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