Many of you may not be familiar with the phrase ‘finding flow’. It’s the psychological state of intense engagement, focus and contentment in the present moment.
Jacqui Jones is one of our fantastic Wellness experts, and she has qualifications in child and adolescent welfare. She also teaches mindfulness meditation and positive psychology.
“Athletes or musicians often talk about being ‘in the zone’ or ‘going with the flow’,” she says.
“The best way to describe ‘finding flow’ is the sense of fluidity with your body and mind. It tends to be a strong connection between your body and mind.”
“It’s like time stands still, and it’s often described as a state of inner bliss or your peak performance.”
If you haven’t experienced it, by the end of this blog, you’ll have a few tools to help access it.
Being on autopilot vs finding flow
The opposite of ‘finding flow’ is being on autopilot. It’s those moments when you have no real recollection of what you are doing.
You might have driven somewhere but can’t remember anything about the journey or eaten a box of chocolates while watching TV to realise there are no more left.
Jacqui says this is where your subconscious mind is at work. Your brain switches off to help us conserve energy and get through tasks efficiently and effectively.
Much of our morning routine is done on autopilot. We are just through the motions, literally,
Being on autopilot can make us feel very disconnected from our daily lives. It can make life feel meaningless, almost. We want to do things with a sense of purpose, not live in Groundhog Day, living the same day over and over.
How can we come off autopilot?
We want to engage our conscious mind as much as we can and feel present when finding flow, says Jacqui.
“We can do this by connecting with our breath, taking three deep breaths and tuning into your body. It’s enough to bring you into the present moment,” she says.
“The present moment is the only true moment of power. Here we make our conscious moments.”
“It can all start by tuning into your breath, engaging your conscious mind and switching autopilot off.”
Instead of doing your usual morning routine, make time for yourself to have five minutes to tune into your senses.
How to incorporate finding flow into your daily routine
There is a very simple exercise you can start doing today to help with finding flow. It’s called the five senses exercise and engages all five senses. Read on to see how it works.
Try making a cup of coffee and ask yourself these five questions…
What can I see? Take it all in.
What can I touch? Feel the warmth of the coffee cup.
What can I hear? Hear the birds outside.
What can I taste? Perhaps the taste of coffee, take a mindful sip.
What can I smell? Notice any sense around you.
By tuning into your five senses, you’re helping yourself make that mind /body connection.
Anxiety can take over your mind and body. Over time it becomes a nice moment to check in with yourself before diving into the day’s business. This five senses practice is good to use with kids experiencing anxiety.
What’s more, Jacqui says to also look for ways to bring in awareness. It can help us discover those moments of finding flow that we might have overlooked.
“By bringing in flow, it can also bring meaning into your daily life,” says Jacqui.
“Of all the research on happiness, scientists have found that when humans are in flow sense, it’s when we are at our happiest.”
How can you experience finding flow?
Finding flow is about finding what brings you joy and bringing joy to the things that don’t. Start by noticing what brings you a sense of joy. When was the last time you thought about activities you love to do?
“Stop and grab a blank piece of paper, come back and set the timer for two minutes,” says Jacqui.
“During these two minutes, write down all the activities you love to do, don’t filter it or second guess.”
“Notice how you feel in your mind and body when you focus on things you love to do.”
After this, you can take it a step further. Take one activity from the list and write about it for two minutes. Why you love it and how it makes you feel.
Visualise it. Picture it in your mind. Tune into your five senses. What are you feeling? What you are trying to do is to expand this feeling of flow or joy.
Notice how it feels to be in sync with something rather than resistant. This is what it’s like to be finding flow in your life.
Tapping into our inner flow
Recognising that a ‘flow state’ exists for all of us is important. Some of us are just more tapped in and are finding flow in our everyday life.
“Like a gushing river, there is a strong current in one direction,” says Jacqui.
“You can choose to go with it or against it. Many of us feel like we’re swimming against the current rather than going with it. What if we can turn ourselves around, go with the flow, and see where the current takes us?”
“Could you be willing to trust a bit more and go with this flow? Think about flow in a broader sense. There’s a natural flow to life.”
“When you lean into it or tune into how you feel in any given moment, you get a better sense of where we’re at.”
Flow feels like ease. When you’re finding flow, magic seems to happen. It all starts with choosing to trust the flow of life a bit more.
Making a choice in this present moment. Trying to help yourself make this present connection.
“It’s quite common for us to be caught in the middle of everyone else’s river. You children or hubby expect you to jump in and help them swim,” adds Jacqui.
“We can go back to being on autopilot, going through the motions.”
“Try not to worry if you have days when swimming upstream. Just give yourself some space when this happens. It’s not a question of trying to make yourself feel good.”
Page activity for finding flow
There’s a simple one-page activity accompanying this session on finding flow.
You can even do this with your kids. Help your child complete it. Circle what they love to do.
Notice the change in energy once you’ve done this activity. The energy increases in the room.
“Where your attention goes, your energy flows.”
You’re choosing where to put your focus, and this will help you go with the flow and finding flow.
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