Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flow Experience

I've discovered that my quest for self-improvement should include an emphasis on achieving what the psychologist, Csikszentmihalyi called "flow experience." Essentially it is the place where challenge and ability meet. If there is more challenge than ability, then there is stress. More ability than challenge means that I am at risk for boredom or depression. I can know that I am in the flow experience when I feel peace and joy and am so engaged in an experience that I can loose track of time AND I don't want to stuff my face with food.

Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow:

1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.[5]
2. Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
10. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.

An emphasis on attaining the "flow experience" means that I look inside myself and notice how I am feeling rather than on outward goals or expectations. I feel when I am having a "flow experience" that I am also in harmony with God's will for me.

1 comment:

MamaPark said...

This has cinfirmed some thoughts I have been having. I am going to run a Marathon again. I'm so excited. Thank you for sharing this article with your thoughts. Love ya! Is it inappropriate to love the blogger? Lol