1. Flow (the psychology term)
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (his name is pronounced Mee-high Cheek-sent-me-high…. now isn’t that fun to say?) coined the term “flow,” which is now one of my favorite concepts.
Why? Because it represents the moments in life when you cannot be stressed or worried, consumed by thoughts, contemplating how many things you need to do, or be in any other form of negative, yucky thinking.
Wikipedia defines flow as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
That is beautiful. You know you have created a flow state when you are focused and enjoying something so much that you lose track of time altogether. Minutes or hours can pass undetected when you are in a flow state.
Personally, I can achieve this blissful flow state regularly in a challenging yoga class, while downhill skiing (because if I’m not concentrating 100% on what I am doing in each moment, I could fall!), and while doing a craft such as making a beaded mala or weaving a basket.
My husband can create flow with skateboarding and snowboarding and he seeks these two activities out all the time.
What is your flow activity? It could be doing a difficult athletic endeavor or being creative such as with painting, drawing, and building artwork. Playing music creates flow for many people. Learning a new skill can put you in a flow state….yet, likely, having proficiency in the skill then working on mastery probably is the purest flow state.
I would argue that, if you think back throughout your life, you HAVE experienced flow, especially as a child. It’s worth contemplating what brought you into a flow state earlier in life because that activity is a great place to start.
If you don’t already have a flow activity in your regular life, I recommend that you get yourself one! It comes with peace and joy, I promise.
Being creative is available to everyone. You could draw, paint, sculpt, build something, choreograph a dance, create a song, write in a journal…so many creative possibilities. Also, being out in nature is a great place to play around with a flow activity. Some people get into a flow state simply walking in the woods.
Flow doesn’t have too many rules, yet I would try to find a flow activity for yourself that does not involve technology. Just don’t. Put that device down!
2. Flow (of nerve messages)
Now, on to another type of “flow” that I love….nerve flow. If you know me at all, you realize I talk about the nervous system and how it needs to flow freely within your spine from your brain to your body (and back again) as optimally as possible for good health.
Maximize nerve flow in your life to cultivate extraordinary health and a supreme sense of well-being. All the systems of your body run by instructions from that “all-important” nervous system….your brain, your spinal cord, and all your nerves.
Nerve messages run the show of your life and if they disappear, you are dead. Put effort into your nerve flow by having good posture, alignment, and flexibility of the spine. (Get adjusted, of course, and listen to the advice of your chiropractor!)
3. Flow (the yoga kind)
My final, favorite kind of flow is a type of yoga where you move through a series of poses, coordinated with the breath, with a dance-like quality. This is called “vinyasa” or “flow” yoga. It feels amazing and may even put you into the state of flow (psychology definition – see the first topic).
Flow is good for a happy life. We ought to be teaching our children how to be happy, in addition to the 3 R’s, don’t you think? Teach them about the concept of flow in all its forms!
And… the best thing you can do for your children and grandchildren is to SHOW them a happy YOU. Set a good example. Do activities that put you in the flow state and invite others to join you. Have good posture and tell people why you get adjusted regularly to be healthy, not just to fix your pain problem. And, if yoga interests you, learn to do a yoga flow sequence.
Flow will make your life better. Seek it out and tell me (Dr. Amy) about your favorite flow activities. ~Dr. Amy Mercovich