What is Flow & Why is it important?

What is Flow2

Csíkszentmihályi and his fellow researcher Jeanne Nakamura identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow:

  • Intense and focused concentration on the present moment

  • Merging of action and awareness

  • A loss of reflective self-consciousness

  • A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity

  • Losing track of time

  • Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

Also important to note—flow is an active state, not a passive state. You are not in flow when you are on hour eight of a Netflix binge. (Hate to break it to you!) You are not likely in flow when you lounge in a warm bath or take a nap or rest. Flow typically requires goals, a desired outcome, creation. Flow is creation, movement, energy.

Over the next few days, we’ll take a deeper look at flow and how we can begin incorporating it into our lives. This concept is an incredibly useful tool to improve the way we feel about our being (it can help us get out of a funk), and is something we can learn to induce on our own. Flow can be used in so many facets of our lives, from work to play to purpose. Until next time, why don’t you see if you can get “in the zone” once or twice today?

Nakamura, J.; Csikszentmihályi, M. (20 December 2001). "Flow Theory and Research". In C. R. Snyder Erik Wright, and Shane J. Lopez (ed.). Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press. pp. 195–206. ISBN 978-0-19-803094-2.