HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: HAPPINESS, PART III OF III EXPERIENCING MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI’S FLOW

You know you’re in the flow if . . .

You lose awareness of time.  Minutes pass like seconds.  Hours pass like minutes.  Filmmaker George Lucas explains that talent is “a combination of something you love a great deal and something you can lose yourself in—something that you can start at 9 o’clock, look up from your work and it’s 10 o’clock at night . . . .          ‘

You aren’t thinking about yourself.  You aren’t focused on your personal comfort or appearance and you aren’t concerned about how others may perceive your appearance or activity.  You are aware of yourself only within the context of the activity itself, such as your fingers on piano keys, your grip on a garden hoe, or the strength and balance of your body as you practice yoga.

You aren’t interrupted by extraneous thoughts.  You don’t think about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow.  Or what you’ll wear, whom you’ll see, what you’ll do.

You are active.  Flow activities aren’t passive.  You have control over what you’re doing.

You work effortlessly.  Flow activities require more effort than our usual daily activities.  Yet, though you’re working harder on a project, during flow everything’s “clicking” and feels almost effortless.

My Take on the Flow:  I love it.

I never knew there was a name for it or that it could be categorized as it is above.  Whatever it was, I knew when I was in it, and I described “it” as doing something that emptied me and filled me up at the same time.

I have that feeling when I’m writing, dancing, sewing, gardening, listening to jazz or classical music or a great speaker, watching a good play or movie, or when I’m exploring new areas or ideas or people.

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