”Don’t go with the flow – be the flow.”
At the moment Coursera offers a course called ”The Science of Well-Being” from Yale University. According to the course professor the course was created because she was worried about the levels of student depression, anxiety, and stress that she was seeing as a Professor and Head of College at Yale.
”When I first developed the class, I had no idea it would become the most popular class ever taught at Yale University. The Yale class was featured in both the national and international news media, and I was flooded with requests from people around the world to find a way to share the content of this Yale class more broadly.”
– Professor Laurie Santos
During the course professor Santos talks about flow state, and the health benefits that this state provides.
For me personally flow state can be described a little bit like this;
”When you’re enjoying what you’re doing you easily reach that so called flow state. A state of being when time passes by without you even noticing. A state of being when you’re your most creative self. A state of being when you’re guided by your inner voice. A state of being that can only be described by the words pure bliss.”
Some features of ”Flow” according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (a Hungarian-American psychologist. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity).
- Challenging but attainable goals
- Strong focused concentration
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding
- Feelings of serenity
- Loss of self-consiousness
- Timelessness/lose track of time passing
- Lack of awareness of physical needs
- Complete focus on thenactivity itself
”The best moment in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occurif a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish soemthing difficult and worthwhile.”Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Reflect upon if or when you’ve experienced this kind of flow state, and what you were doing during that time.
Incorporating moments in which you challenge your skillsets in a voluntary way is a good method for a more fulfilling everyday life. It’s about maximizing your skills at the right challenge level.
One way of reaching this so called flow state is to incorporate your main signature strenghts into the job or task; thus will make the task more fulfilling and meaningful to you.
If you have no idea about what your core signature stregths are you can take a free test at VIA Institute. It’s a free self-assessment test that takes less than 15 minutes, and provides you with a wealth of information to help you understand your best qualities.
If you’re interested in wanting to know more about how to find, and reach a creative flow read my blog post 8 ways to get into a creative flow.
Csikszentmihalyi, M (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins
(This is not a sponsored blog post, I just genuinely want to inspire others to try out the course. It’s backed with a lot of scientific research, and offers many, good practical advice on how to level-up your well-being and happiness.)