Exploring the “Flow”

Reality is so much more delicious than our concept of it.

-Judson Brewer

Think positive. Think outside the box. Think it and it will happen. Okay, I made that last one up, but have you ever been told to think a certain way to improve an area in your life?

Did it work for you?

Shifting your thinking and perspective seems so simple, but in reality it isn’t an easy thing to do. It is a process of breaking habits, challenging yourself to do something different, and growing. Bottom line: it is uncomfortable, especially when you think about it too much.

Wait a minute… of thinking is part of the problem, how can it be the solution?

It isn’t really an issue of thinking- thinking is necessary and can actually cultivate focus. The issue is when you overthink in a way that removes you from the present. Instead of appreciating what is in from of you, you are dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. That type of thinking isn’t productive and can suck a lot of energy away from enjoying life right now.

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If you are an over thinker (like me) yoga is a great way to calm your mind and literally help you find your “flow”. It helps you connect with your body here and now, and shut down the flow of thought and start up the flow of the body. In fact, the “flow” is such an integral concept in yoga that is can be traced back to the first known written document about yoga known as Yoga Sutras.

What is a flow and why you should explore it

Flow is a psychological term describing when a person is fully immersed in a task. Generally speaking, a flow consists of concentration and enjoyment. When you are in the flow, you are in the moment, enjoying life and free from worry for the future or past. There is evidence that being in the flow promotes higher levels of happiness.

Why find your flow? When you are in your flow, you are at the your optimum- the best you can be. What could be better?

Check out Judson Brewer’s TEDx talk where he discusses and describes the state of flow.

Basically, we need to do more, think less.  And this is much easier said than done.

The irony of realizing you are in the flow is to sometimes not be in it. Like all things, balance is necessary, and understanding the flow, how to enter it and engage, as well as reflecting on when you were in it and how you felt, are necessary to create awareness around the entire flow experience. Brewer notes that you need to get out of your own way, usually obstacles you think up and trip over. Stop the trip up and develop the reflection by working on your own flow.

How to get into a flow (from Mrs. Mindfulness)

Step 1

Take 5 deep breaths, closing your eyes if you want. Focus just on your breath here and become aware of what it feels like to be in the moment.

Step 2

Be present and aware in the now. Notice how you feel.

Step 3

Do an activity with purpose. It can be anything- washing the dishes, going for a walk, looking at a picture. Just do it completely in the moment. If thoughts arise, notice them and allow them to float by.

Step 4

Continue the activity. Notice how the activity is different when you do it with mindfulness. You may see that the activity comes “alive”.

Me writing this blog is an example of finding flow in patterns of thought. I may not be engaging with the room I am sitting in at the moment, but I am actively engaging in an idea- that is also a form a flow!

If you are struggling to find a flow in everyday tasks, do some yoga and apply the same awareness listed above. You may surprise yourself.

Enjoy the day, don’t overthink it, and get into the flow!

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