Perhaps you've heard of people talking about getting into a “flow state”, especially when working or being creative.
This is a seamless, productive state of mind in which you quickly produce some of your best outputs. But how do you induce such a flow state, and can anyone do it?
In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of getting into a flow state.
We'll begin by looking at the basic psychological research on flow states, and by looking at some helpful examples.
From there, we'll turn to how you can get into your own flow state.
We'll explain four major things you need to do, before closing with advice on how you can use your flow state activation skills to get what you want out of life.
Let's begin with the most basic question:
what is a flow state?
Psychologists tell us that it's a mental state in which you feel excited, energized, and totally focused on a task.
It's a state that comes with confidence, and a sense of total devotion to whatever you're doing at that precise moment.
You don't need to push away distractions or force yourself to concentrate – you get “flow” through your work.
The good news is that even if you rarely feel like you're in this state, you can learn use to help you get you into a flow – you just have to learn your triggers.
When asked to think about what it means to be in a happy state, lots of people talk about relaxation and a sense of having no commitments.
However, recent work by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly proves that the best time of your life is much more likely to be a time when you felt challenged and stretched to do something incredibly worthwhile.
So, examples of peak happiness often overlap with being in a flow state.
And these experiences are much more likely to involve moments of focused work and achievement than they are to involve passively receiving something good.
Now that you know what a flow state involves, and how it's linked to your happiness, let's consider how you get in the flow when you want to.
We're going to discuss four major triggers, along with how you can use them to your advantage and what you can expect to achieve.
You'll get the very best results when you use all four triggers at once, but when you're just starting out you might want to experiment with one trigger at a time so that you can perfect the associated skill.
A vital first step is figuring out what's the best time to try and enter a flow state.
There isn't one answer to this question – it depends on your unique biological rhythm, as well as your lifestyle.
What you're looking for here is a time when you have high levels of energy and willpower. Otherwise, your attempt to get into a flow is likely to fail.
The standard starting recommendation is to try getting into a flow state in the morning when you're rested.
However, if you aren't a morning person, try to find a time after you've had a break or a rest – a time when you've recharged your energy.
Make sure that this is a real break, where you meditate, read a book, or just sit in peace.
Studies show that to get into a flow state, you have to stop all distractions – both external and internal.
Firstly, regarding external distractions, it's smart to put your phone in another room and turn it off or keep it on silent.
Meanwhile, on your laptop or tablet, close all the windows that are unrelated to your current project, and remove anything distracting around you (e.g., photographs, bills, to-do lists, and so on).
Next, regarding internal distractions, mindfulness or breathing exercises can help prepare you for a flow state. In addition, if you find your mind is always busy, try writing a daily journal article earlier in the time to clear your head.
This step is well worth it – research on flow states indicates you need at least 25 minutes to get back into a flow state after you're interrupted.
This Is because of the phenomenon of “attention residue” – in other words, your mind partly stays with your previous task.
Modern society encourages us to multitask, telling us that everything is urgent and that we can only be our best selves if we're replying to emails at the same time as completing a report and talking to a colleague.
However, experts on flow states tell us that you need to be focused on one thing at a time if you're going to get into the most productive headspace. How, then, should you approach this?
Before you even try to get into a flow state, figure out exactly what you're going to do, down to the fine details.
For example, if you're planning a creative writing session, which project will you work on? Are you aiming for a specific word count, or to complete a particular scene?
Are you editing, or writing draft material? Get clear on all of this first, so there are no niggling questions or uncertainties that might hold you back from your flow state.
Finally, as well as defining your task properly, it's important to know why you're doing what you're doing.
If you don't have a sense of why your task is important or how it helps you fulfill greater goals, your mind is likely to wander.
Further, you're likely to start wondering if another task should be prioritized right now, and this train of thought leads straight to procrastination.
So, think about how your current activity supports your life goals. If you were to say in one sentence why this task matters to you, what would you say?
And what further goal lies beneath that reason? For example, you might say that completing a blog post matters to you because it will help to promote your business on social media.
Underneath that, however, is the fact you want to promote your business because you want to earn a living doing something you love. Tuning into this knowledge will help you focus.
You now know what a flow state involves, how it can boost your achievements, and what you can do in order to easily trigger such a state in yourself.
Just having the ability to go into a flow state can help you manifest the life you desire, as you'll now be better able to spend more time and energy working on the things you know you need to do to attract everything from love to confidence, abundance, and your dream job.
However, if you want to do even more with your newfound skills, why not think about how to use a flow state in Law of Attraction work?
No matter what your chosen life path, you will be more likely to achieve your goal if you turn all of your energy and attention toward your manifestation exercises.
For example, you might deliberately induce a flow state before you write an entry in your gratitude journal, or before you sit down to make a vision board.