Flow: the Process of transformation in time
Self Help

Flow: the Process of transformation in time

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In life, people are often in search of happiness, and they feel that by buying clothes, a mobile, a car, and a house, they will become happy, but it’s not so. When people buy anything, they feel pleasure, and it’s very different from happiness. People are always in search of happiness, but find it difficult to be happy. Have you ever thought why? It’s because they are connecting it to a certain object or person, where happiness is a choice or a state of mind. Everyone knows the example of half being half full or half empty, right? So people who choose happiness consider the glass to be half full and try to enjoy what they have and aspire for what they want. It’s really easy to explain but very hard to practice.

But when people are highly engrossed in the activity, they feel happy once they complete the task, which enhances their confidence as well as their well-being. People get engrossed in the activity only when they are intrinsically motivated. This can happen when people participate in activities they feel passionate about, such as reading, writing, dancing, or playing. These activities can help the person reduce their stress level as well. Sometimes, while they are in the process of activity, they forget about time and surroundings. This state is known as flow. Let’s talk about it in detail.

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What is flow?

Have you ever remembered any moment in life where you felt that time was flying or when you saw the clock, you were shocked to see how long you were doing certain things without even realizing it? If you have ever had such moments in life, then you have already experienced flow. Flow is a state where skills and challenges find balance and action and consciousness become one. A person forgets his self-consciousness to such an extent that even a sense of feeling disappears.

Flow requires a high level of concentration. If you ever ask a person who has expired about how they felt at that moment, their simple answer will be nothing. As they get so merged with the action that they become unaware of their surroundings and the present moment, Feeling in flow is retrospective. It means that after they experience a state of flow, when they look back, they can feel something about it, such as relaxing, peace, happiness, or evolution. In other words, in the process of flow, a person gets so absorbed in the act that they experience time disorientation. Flow is the peak experience of engagement. Flow is a positive experience. This term was given by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow is also called as “in the zone.”

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The work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi In the field of positive psychology and flow

He is also considered a co-founder of positive psychology. His work had a great impact in the field of positive psychology. Positive psychology researchers Mihály and Jacob first got interested in flow theory when they were studying the creative process in the 1960s. He saw an artist who was making paintings with a unique focus, single-mindedly, and who was persistent in his work regardless of his tiredness, discomfort, and unfulfilled need for hunger. Once he was done, he showed interest in his completed work. Mihály got curious to know the reason behind this. Later in 1975, he conducted research in other fields to understand this phenomenon, such as chess and dancing. In this study, he found that this process of flow had two key elements: goals and feedback.

Universal factors of flow

Nakamura (1990) and Mihály (2002) described nine dimensions of flow, which include:
  1. Autotelic experience
  2. Loss of self-consciousness
  3. Clear Goal
  4. A sense of control
  5. Transformation of time
  6. Full concentration on the task
  7. The merging of action and awareness
  8. Balance between challenge and skill
  9. Unambiguous feedback
Three other components were added to this by Kandra Cherry as part of the flow:
  1. Involvement in the activities does not get affected by other needs.
  2. Immediate feedback
  3. The feeling of potential success

All these elements can be expected independently, but when they are all merged into one, they contribute to the experience of flow.

The necessary conditions to experience flow:
  1. The activity must have a clear structure (goal-oriented) and direction (progress in performance).
  2. Confidence is required to complete the task, as is the balance between the perceived task and the perceived skill set.
  3. Activities provide immediate feedback so that a person can negotiate between any challenging demands and adjust his or her skills accordingly to maintain flow.

Mihály Csikszentmihalyi Flow state chart:

He explains the flow state chart in his book Finding Flow, where he explains eight different zones while a person gets engaged in an activity. The two axes of the flow state chart are the level of challenge and the level of skills. When both are at the optimum level or high level, the person experiences flow. These two components are subjective to each individual.

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Individual differences in flow:

Flow is a state that a person experiences on an individual level by doing activities in which they prefer engaging. The subject area of their flow and conditions varies from person to person. For example, for someone, flow can be explained in the process of reading, or for another person, it can be explained by painting. Also, for one person, certain situations can be challenging, and for another person, similar situations are likely to flow. But one thing that comes to everyone is complete immersion in the activities.

People experience flow when they do not compare their experience with that of any other person or any previous experience and get engrossed in the activity. This state can help the person add positive moments to their life and help them develop better coping strategies.

  • https://positivepsychology.com/what-is-flow/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
  • https://positivepsychology.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-
  • flow/

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