1. Education
Kendra Cherry

Understanding the Psychology of Flow

By March 18, 2014

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what is flow

Have you ever gotten so focused on an activity that you lost track of time passing? Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this experience flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.

In his book Finding Flow, Csikszentmihalyi explains:

"The metaphor of flow is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as "being in the zone," religious mystics as being in "ecstasy," artists and musicians as "aesthetic rapture."

It is the full involvement of flow, rather than happiness, that makes for excellence in life. We can be happy experiencing the passive pleasure of a rested body, warm sunshine, or the contentment of a serene relationship, but this kind of happiness is dependent on favorable external circumstances. The happiness that follows flow is of our own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness."

Discover more about what it feels like to experience flow, when flow is most likely to occur and some of the major benefits of flow in this overview: What Is Flow?

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Photo by Bart Coenders/iStockPhoto

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