You probably remember those moments as a little kid when all time would melt away. You’d be completely absorbed in an activity, lost in the challenge of learning something new that you loved. When someone came to tell you it was time for dinner, you were shocked to realize how much time had passed. In adulthood, it feels so much harder to get in the flow and experience all of that again.
Often, once we become adults we tend to think that maybe getting in the flow isn’t that necessary. It feels hard and maybe even a little bit novel. Our to-do lists are waiting, so we focus on being efficient instead.
But pretty soon, we start to miss that childhood feeling of being in flow. With constant worry, deadlines, and harsh realities circling around in our minds, we start to wonder if this is the healthiest way to live life.
Are you searching for a way to get in the flow and get back to that fulfilling feeling?
Get in the Flow for Wellness
Research shows that people who regularly get in the flow feel more satisfied with their life experiences. This is because flow puts you in the present moment, which is the mindset necessary for true peace. When you’re working from a present moment state of mind, your entire focus is on your task at hand instead of worrying about the future or thinking about regrets from the past.
Being in the present moment causes your stress levels to decrease, your satisfaction with what you’re doing to increase, and your productivity to become truly effective. You’ll feel amazing and get lots done when you’re truly in the flow.
Being in flow isn’t about just one type of activity. Sure, it’s great to be in flow when you’re working. But you can also create the feeling when you’re gardening, vacuuming, playing a musical instrument, or cleaning out the garage. It’s a state of mind that, with practice, you can create no matter what you’re doing.
As mindfulness is becoming more studied, we know that this practice has a lot of health benefits for our minds and bodies. When you get into the flow, you are creating a similar state of mind, which has related benefits.
Learning how to get into a state of flow is truly beneficial for your life, health, and success.
How to Get in the Flow
If it’s been a long time since you’ve experienced flow, you might wonder if it’s even possible to create that state of mind again. It might feel far away and mystical. Luckily, it’s a natural state for humans to be in, so it shouldn’t be too hard to relearn how to do.
That said, be patient, try lots of things, and know that you’ll get there when you finally let go. Trying to always be in control is one of the biggest deterrents for creating flow. So the more you try to force it, the more it will always stay just beyond reach. The only way to create flow is to learn patience and to lean into the process. Flow teaches you how to truly let go.
Here are a few things to help you learn how to create a state of flow during any activity that you want to engage with more meaningfully.
1. Choose a quiet space without distractions.
Flow can’t happen if you’re surrounded by noise and things that can pull you out of the flow state. Choose a time of day and place that will allow you to sink into a meditative mindset. If you get distracted, reset your flow practice and dive back in gracefully and with intention.
2. Avoid multitasking and remove temptations.
In our modern world, there is always a lot going on in our days. We might have a conversation, eat a meal, work on a project for our job, and simultaneously check our phone. Multitasking has become more commonplace and with it comes decreased efficiency and effectiveness. We don’t do anything well when we’re multitasking, and we definitely can’t get and stay in a state of flow.
So turn off your phone and hide it away. Promise yourself to stay off of any website not related to your work. Turn off distracting music. Remove anything that will pull you away from your activity. Allow yourself to just sink into doing one thing and one thing only.
3. Begin with a comfortable body.
If you’re hungry, need to visit the bathroom, or need a drink, take care of these things ahead of time. When your body is in pain, it will prevent you from reaching a true flow state. So do your stretches and care for your body first. A quiet body will allow you to have a quiet mind.
4. Start off with a mindfulness exercise.
One great way to trigger flow is to start off with a few moments of meditation or mindfulness practice. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Observe your thoughts without judgment and without investing in any of them. Try to bring your focus to your breath and calming down the mental chatter. Open your eyes and begin your activity with intention.
5. Choose an activity that is meaningful or important.
While we can get into flow states while doing mundane work, it’s helpful to start off your flow practice with something a little more engaging for your mind. Pick an activity that feels really meaningful to you. Maybe it’s an artistic project, or it involves something that will benefit you or others. Or choose something you really need to do for work or another obligation. The urgency of both types of tasks will help you find the momentum to get in a flow state.
6. Choose the challenge level wisely.
This activity needs to feel challenging without being too challenging. You can’t get into a flow state when you are very first learning how to do something. You need a little muscle memory and success behind you first. Once you’ve got a little competence, it will help you get in the zone easier. That said if you’re bored the flow won’t happen either. Make sure the activity is just challenging enough to engage your mind effectively.
7. Focus on the process over the end goal.
It can feel motivational to keep your eye on the end goal. But it won’t necessarily help you stay in the present moment when you’re obsessing over what’s coming in the near future. Instead, get deeply engaged in the process. That’s where the flow state is and that’s where you’ll truly learn to let go. You’ll achieve your goal in one way or another. But flow can’t happen if you’re not rooted in the present moment. Stay there.
Practice Flow and Letting Go
Being in a state of flow can be incredibly beneficial for your life and mind. The more often you create moments of flow, the more you’ll feel rooted in your experience of life. As you work to develop a mindfulness practice, also simultaneously work on creating more flow in your life. The more your ground your mind in the present moment thinking, the healthier you’ll feel and the more you’ll feel satisfied with your life. Happy flow!
If you’re the kind of person who loves helping others achieve states of physical and emotional wellness, you would be a great fit for becoming a Wellness Coach. The IAWP offers a powerful accredited certification program and includes comprehensive and holistic systems and support so that you’ll be successful for life. Reach out to one of our admissions advisors today to get started.