Have you ever been in the situation where you have lost yourself in the moment during an activity? Have you been involved in an activity where your abilities are so well matched to what you are doing that you just feel like your buzzing with energy? And an interruption to what you are doing, feels inconvenient and you just want to get back to it? If this is the case you might have been in the ‘flow state’.
When in this state you experience positive emotions, such as enjoyment. It is the state in which you function at your fullest capacity with your attention focused on the task at hand and factors such as fatigue or boredom do not interfere.
Being in the flow state is enjoyable. The state can’ t just be accessed because you like doing something and it doesn’t appear in an instant. I often feel far from the state of flow despite trying to engage with things I am interested in and love.
I have however found a process that I go through to access the flow state and maybe this is something you can apply to your own projects or work to ensure that they feel energizing, rather than draining.
During the movement meditations that I create I always aim to replicate this process of entering the flow state. The flow state, that ‘being in the zone’ experience, according to Positive Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura makes us happy (check out this great TED talk, if you are interested) .
If you have attended any of my workshops, courses or 1:1 session you will have experienced that the first step to finding flow is grounding yourself. Now in movement terms this means to connect with your body. Say ‘hello’ to that little toe that you haven’t realised was there in weeks. It means shifting focus away from the external and paying attention to the internal. It means becoming aware of the structures of the body that we rarely think about, but that support us in our everyday lives.
This grounding process is also what I use when I start any new project. It is the time when I pay attention to all the various aspects that the project entails. I say ‘hello’ to all the areas that need looking at and give each a little attention to get to know them.
At this stage everything just ‘is’ – the ideas, the resources, the different body parts nothing feels connected. It is an important stage, as without going through the ‘what is’ and without the attention to each area the next stage is impossible.
The next stage is to start connecting the ‘what is’. In movement this is when we start moving with flow (we aren’t in the flow state yet). We use the breath to move from one movement into the next. In my current research project (learn more about that here) it means arranging the various theories and information into a format that makes sense. It is all about exploring, being curious and finding connections between the different body parts (or theories).
3. MOMENTUM AND FLOW
The next stage often organically takes over once connections between the individual ‘what is’ areas have been found. This is when the pace will pick up. Decisions can be made easily and without worry. You have all the information from the individual aspects to know where they fit and how they connect. In an embodied experience this stage will see movements speed up. Faster and faster, directions changed. The critical internal self-doubt voice is switched off. You allow yourself to just be. You move as your body wants to. Now we have momentum and are in the zone – the flow state!
Oh it is a great place to be….everything moves with ease and flow. Projects just get moving.
I invite you to consider a project you are working on at the moment. What stage are you in or do you need to be in to get to that flow state – grounding, connecting, momentum, flow? And what can you do within that stage to shift you into the next phase, being a step closer to the flow state?
Do join a ‘Ground Yourself’ Workshop, if you want an embodied experience of the process. To join the free workshop please click here to register.