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Proneness for psychological flow in everyday life: Associations with personality and intelligence

April 16th, 2012

The Researchers: F. Ullen, O. de Manzano, R. Almeida, P. K. E. Magnusson, N. L. Pederson, J. Nakamura, M. Csikszentmihalyi, G. Madison

Published In: Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 52(2), pp. 167-172, 2012

Prognosis

Neuroticism blocks flow.

Particulars

Remember the last time you were concentrating so effortlessly that you hardly realized you were working? That’s what researchers call a state of “flow.” It’s a productive state and an enjoyable one, and it comes more easily to some of us than others. But to whom?

In this study, researchers wanted to figure out what intelligence and neuroticism had to do with it, so they used standard tests to gauge participants’ personality, intelligence, and proneness to achieving flow. People who were neurotic had much more difficulty achieving flow, and people who were conscientious had a much easier time of it—but intelligence wasn’t a factor at all. 

You don’t need to be a genius to reap the benefits of flow: it has much more to do with an all-around positive affect. 

Beauty connection

If you find you have a lot of difficulty entering this almost meditative state of leisurely but productive focus, it could be a sign that you’ve got other issues to work out. If you often feel anxious or stressed, practice deep breathing or take a regular yoga class. Not only will you get a beauty boost, you’ll find your flow more easily.

Read More by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
Meet the Mind: The Man Who Discovered Flow
Motivation Affects Enjoyment 

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