Home > NewsRelease > 1 Powerful Way to Get To Flow: We Remember Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
1 Powerful Way to Get To Flow: We Remember Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington, DC
Monday, November 8, 2021


Table of Contents

What is Flow?

Most of us know what Flow feels like. In the words of recently deceased Csikszentmihalyi, who wrote Flow: The Psychology of Happiness:

Concentration is so intense that no attention is left over to think about anything irrelevant or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted.

As a WWII prisoner witnessing so much pain and suffering, Csikszentmihalyi became intrigued by human happiness, and what makes it so. What he found through years of studies was that human happiness is not predetermined and static—but rather something we can create.

The father of Flow, Csikszentmihalyi, died this past October 20, and may he rest in peace, although he does not appear to have been a huge fan of peace. In fact, he wrote:

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

Makes sense when we consider that Yale study I love so much, which found that optimal learning takes place when we are 70% outside of our comfort zone. And the brain does love how good new learning can feel. Makes us want more, more, more…

Now, maybe Flow hasn’t happened a lot for every one of us. Or, should I say, maybe we haven’t made it happen a lot. But maybe we should. And here is why.

Benefits of Flow

Here is a list of some of the benefits of the research-based benefits of Flow from the mental health information online resource, Verywell Mind:

  • Better emotional regulation: With increased flow, people also experience more growth toward emotional complexity. This can help people develop skills that allow them to regulate their emotions more effectively.
  • Greater enjoyment and fulfillment: People in a flow state enjoy what they are doing more. Because the task becomes more enjoyable, people are also more likely to find it rewarding and fulfilling.
  • Greater happiness: Research also suggests that flow states may be linked to increased levels of happiness, satisfaction, and self-actualization.
  • Greater intrinsic motivation: Because flow is a positive mental state, it can help increase enjoyment and motivation. Intrinsic motivation involves doing things for internal rewards.
  • Increased engagement: People in a flow state feel fully involved in the task at hand.
  • Improved performance: Researchers have found that flow can enhance performance in a wide variety of areas including teaching, learning, athletics, and artistic creativity.
  • Learning and skill development: Because the act of achieving flow indicates a substantial mastery of a certain skill, people have to keep seeking new challenges and information in order to maintain this state.
  • More creativity: Flow states often take place during creative tasks, which can help inspire greater creative and artistic pursuits.

Basically, it feels good, and works well. So why would we not go there—into Flow—more than we do. Look, we are going to do whatever it is anyway. So why not make it fun and fruitful all at the same time. Ok, you say, so how?

How To Practice Flow

Eight Ways to get into Flow can be found on PositivePsychology.com. My favorite is teacher and basketball coach Mike Oppland’s first:

…stay away from the attention-robbers common in a modern fast-paced life. A first step would be to turn off your smartphone when seeking flow.

Yes, but we can turn everything off, and the mind is still going to wander all over the place anyway. It does that, wander, about 70% of the time. In fact, in the quiet, the mind might wander even more.

Something else is needed—and that would be for us to first get a grip on the wandering mind, and here is how, adapted from The Breathing Room exercise in the “Complimentary…” pulldown at madelaineweiss.com:

When thoughts occur, simply note them, let them go, and return your awareness to your breath.

Thoughts will come and go. You may think of them as clouds in the sky. They may be lovely; they may be dark.

Whatever they are, we do not try to hold them. We let them pass, which is what clouds always do, as will our thoughts if we let them too.

When thoughts arise, whatever they are, we simply note them and let them go, like clouds in the sky, and bring our awareness back to our work, or the dishes, or whatever it is you set out to do…

That’s right. I said the dishes. Doesn’t matter what it is. Whatever it is, we can both enjoy it and do it well, with a more disciplined mind on the job. Try it. You might like it. And, do let us know.

Warm wishes,


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Name: Madelaine Claire Weiss
Group: MindOverMatters, LLC
Dateline: Washington, DC United States
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