The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen.Mihly Cskszentmihlyi
Getting into the flow or zone is a way of achieving goals, peak performance and a more satisfying, fulfilling and happier life. It can be used in the workplace, sports, education, hobbies or to achieve personal goals.
It’s a state that can bring better health through reduced stress and a boosted immune system.
So what do you need to get yourself into the flow?
You need a challenge. That will be part of the goal you want to achieve. To make it happen you need your goal and plan to achieve it. As with all goals it should be something worthwhile, achievable but with a challenge built in to make you work for it.
However, in terms of getting into the flow your challenge needs to meet certain criteria otherwise you won’t be able to attain the flow state and its positive benefits.
It’s necessary that there is a balance between the challenge and your skills. By setting yourself a challenging task you will feel a desire and greater motivation to enter into the process.
It must stimulate your interest and also enjoyment. Tasks that are uninteresting or not enjoyable will increase the likelihood of negative emotions blocking your ability to enter the flow state.
A balance between your skill level and the challenge level is essential to the process of entering the flow state. If there is too little challenge then boredom will set in and your motivation to participate and complete the task will lessen.
Too much challenge will result in self-doubt, anxiety and stress creeping in. Negative emotions block flow which is a positive process and state of being.
The flow state is one of total immersion and absorption in the process. Taking constant action without thought of self or time. By providing enough challenge to engage your curiosity and interest you’ll find your creativity levels increasing and you will look to gain knowledge and skills to complete the task you’ve set yourself.
Another important consideration is that the task itself must be worthwhile. Immersing yourself in the process without thinking about the end result is a key aspect of being in the flow.
This is why sports people, artists, actors and writers use the flow state to improve their performance and achieve peak levels. If you want to achieve peak performance and to create a more satisfying life then you need to set yourself a challenge.