September 30, 2013
Happiness and Flow
Have you ever found yourself doing something that absolutely consumed you and hours passed without realizing it? Maybe you were hunched over your drawing all afternoon and never even noticed your back was cramping up. Maybe you were reading an amazing book and suddenly realized you were starving long past dinner time. You were in a state of flow. Coined by Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychology professor, flow is achieved when you experience a balance of high challenge level and high skill level. It’s the sweet spot between anxiety and boredom. A 5-star restaurant chef won’t be in a state of flow when following the taco instructions on the back of the taco spice bottle – he’ll be bored. A cooking novice won’t be in a state of flow if suddenly placed in charge of the Ritz holiday banquet dinner – he’ll be anxious. Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness author) recommends flow as one of the twelve things one can cultivate to become happier. So the next time you find yourself bored or anxious, find a way to get a better balance of skill level and challenge. And get ready to flow!