Updated: Jul 20
Feeling Flow State For Real
LeBron James draining a last second 3 pointer with the championship on the line. Taylor Swift belting out a ballad in front of a screaming crowd of 50,000. Oprah Winfrey delivering an insightful and penetrating interview on live television with millions of viewers around the world. Tom Brady winning yet ANOTHER Super Bowl. The list goes onward and upward.
What do all these people have in common? The first thought that grabs you by the Sylvester Stallones might be high celebrity status. But what's the thing underneath the fame, wealth, and celebrity that actually makes these people famous? All these folks are top performers, and they are top performers because they are in a state of FLOW.
If you have never heard of flow state before, I'm certain you have felt it before. Some people call it flow, some people call it being "in the zone", and some people can only describe it with an awkward fumbling, yet shockingly accurate muttering of words like, "I don't know, I just felt really good."
And the reason so many people lose their words when describing flow state is because flow state isn't about thinking, it's about feeling. It's not in the mind, it's in the body. In fact, the mind is basically shut off in flow state. You just start operating automatically in flow state. It feels more instinctual than anything else.
You have certainly felt it before. Remember a time in your life where you felt like you could do no wrong. Everything you did or said worked and it worked well. And not only that, it felt easy. It felt like everything just flowwwwwwed. Take a second or three to mull it over and remember a time like that.
Think of a memory when you did something for hours on end and when it was all over, it felt like almost no time had passed at all. A memory where you felt like you got pleasantly lost in the experience. ALL of this indicates flow state.
If you are picking up what I'm putting down, then read on for ways to enter flow state purposefully. If you are lost in a sea of confusion, then read on for ways to enter flow state purposefully, and then you will know what the squanch I am talking about.
Feelin' the Flow (And How You Can Use It in School and Life!)
Flow state is incredibly powerful because it takes you to a place where you perform your best. Most people just end up in flow state all accidental like. But there are ways to help you enter flow.
Let's suppose you want to get into flow state, so you can crush your homework with ease and get back to playing bed wars in Minecraft. What do you do?
Pick the Right Environment
A big part of getting into flow state is simply putting yourself in the right place. For example, right now I am writing this post while I am chilling on the beach, soaking up the sun, listening to the calming waves roll in, and there is not a soul around (just how I like it).
I come here because it helps me relax, it frees me from distractions, and it just makes me happy to be here. Primo flow state environment.
Now maybe you don't have a sunny beach nearby to crush your homework. If not, pick a place free of distractions instead. Pick a place that feels comfortable to you and inspires you. Your bedroom or a nearby park might be good choices.
If no place like that comes to mind, then create it!
Put a desk in your room so that it faces a window looking outside. Put up posters or pictures of your friends that make you feel at home. Create a space that feels nice and cozy when you are all finished.
Once you get your space all set up how you want it, then consistently do your work in that space to train your brain to flip the work switch to "on" whenever you sit down at that desk or on that bench to work.
Pick the Right Jams
Some important person probably once said, "Music is the gateway to the soul." And that unnamed famous celebrity was absolutely right.
Music is a powerful force that can open up your mind creatively. It can transport you to new places. And dagnabbit if it doesn't just make you feel good when you listen to it. I mean this is why us crazy humans make music after all.
Music can ease stress and anxiety, help you focus, and make you feel all warm and sudsy inside.
Now the key to using music to enter flow state (at least when you are studying) is to only listen to music that you actually enjoy. There is also evidence that music without lyrics is best. There are plenty of studies to back this up.
Sometimes I am in a classical mood and I dig listening to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, the classical greats. Zoe Keating is a modern day cellist, and she is also high on my list.
If a bunch of dead white dudes with powdered wigs ain't your thang though, then I have also been loving LoFi recently. It's got relaxing instrumental beats that help keep me focused. Check out this channel for some good vibes: ChilledCow LoFi
Pick Some Flowin' Memories
The last thing you can do to get you into a flow state is to simply remember the last time you were in a flow state. Remember what did it feel like? What emotions did you have? Take yourself back to that place.
Whenever I get writer's block when I am writing a post, I'll take a moment to think about how I was feeling the last time I wrote an amazing post. I'll remember that I was laughing or dancing around, so then I'll watch a quick vid that makes me laugh, or I'll put on some music that makes me want to dance. And like magic, I'm back into flow.
So if you want to be like Bron Bron, Tay Tay, Tom Tom, or Oprah, then putting all of these together, a comfortable and inspiring environment, enjoyable music, and recalling previous flow states, can suck you into the flow state vortex where you get lost in yourself and come out the other side a dominant force to be reckoned with.
Now go crush your homework and get back to playing bed wars baby. Yew!