Flow state...what is it and how do you find it?

Flow state...what is it and how do you find it?

Flow state….

The Resilience Project's Hugh van Cuylenburg talks about it in his latest book ‘Let Go’ and our incredible moguls skier Jakara Anthony said she found it during her gold medal winning run at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

But what is it, what are the benefits, and how do you find it?

Flow state is best described as a sense of complete fluidity between body and mind, where you are totally absorbed by and deeply focused on something, way beyond the point of distraction.

In flow state it’s common that your senses will be heightened and that it feels that time has slowed down. You are completely beyond any point of distraction and awareness and concentration is effortless. It can also be described as being ‘in the zone’.

The best thing about flow state? It’s accessible to everyone.

According to Headspace flow state was popularised by positive psychologgists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura.

“There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback,”

According to Black Dog Institute, the benefits of flow state include:

A Natural high
Being totally absorbed in an activity and achieving some kind of success while in that moment is exhilarating. It gives you a real natural high.

Keeping ourselves motivated during any task can at times be difficult – we’ve all experienced it. But being ‘in the zone’ is so enjoyable that you just want to keep on going, without any external pressure whatsoever.

Skill increase
Flow keeps you in the game and as a result you become more skilful at the task you’re undertaking. So you become better and seek out new challenges or more difficult ‘levels’.

Feel-good factor
Being ‘lost’ in the moment blocks out all the other stuff going on in your life. You simply enjoy what you’re doing. People who experience Flow often describe it as the ultimate feel-good experience.

So how can you find a little flow state?

Experts have found that there are 3 key ingredients to Flow.

   1. Striking a balance between your skills and the challenges posed by a task.
   2. Having clear goals or rules about the task.
   3. Feedback as to your progress while doing the task.

We’ll expand on this now…

When Flow flows and when it doesn’t – it’s all about balance.

Flow happens when there’s the right balance between your skills and the challenges posed by a task (did you even read point number one above? Kidding.) This is where Flow flourishes. Check out this graph that shows you what we’re on about:

There are some situations where it might be hard to get ‘in the zone’. Again, it’s all about balance. These include:

   • When the task is too difficult – you’ll get a little too stressed or anxious.
   • When the task is too easy – you’ll get bored and probably give up.


Your task needs clear aims, or goals, or a set of rules to follow as you’re doing it. If it has none of the above then Flow will be hard to attain. To be fully absorbed in a task there needs to be an end point and you need to know this upfront.

Feed it back to me

Yes, you definitely need to reflect on how you’re going during the task. This type of feedback can help you change tack if you need to and set you on a path to further Flow and success.

Ps. To all of our valued readers out there…. when it comes to achieving Flow, watching TV doesn’t count! Sorry to disappoint. Yes, you may get lost in a TV show, but there’s little skill to that, even though you may have told your parents otherwise.
Source: biteback.com.au