The other day playing tennis with a friend I experienced the feeling that time had stopped, that my mind was calm and that my body would hit the ball in the most appropriate way according to the demands of the game, all with a feeling of intense enjoyment der Ivado The fact of hitting a ball the way I want…
The score of the game was in the background, because in “body and soul” was delivered to the activity that occupied me…
I don’t always get to play this way though I’d love to. Elsa Punset, in her book “Compass for Emotional navigators”, refers to this state as “flow” and puts it first within a list of 11 recommendations to promote positive emotions.
The concept “Flow” was coined by the American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and embodied in his book “Flow, a psychology of happiness.” This author describes in a detailed way what happens when we have a flow experience. I summarize the characteristics of this state ilustrándolo with my own experience playing tennis:
1. “Be very clear about the objective.”
My goal during the game was to deploy my best tennis and use a certain game strategy (I knew my opponent well). He also had a contingency plan in case things didn’t come out the way I had anticipated.
2. “Intense concentration in a limited field of action.”
My attention and energy was concentrated on the tennis court and in my game, there were no other thoughts that would “get me out of the tennis court.”
3. “Loss of self-consciousness, fusion of action and consciousness.
It is true that during the “flow” was not thinking about anything concrete or analyzing the situation, I was just acting and enjoying. “
4. “A notion of distorted time.”
I was not aware of the time and at some point I was not aware of the scoreboard, since all this was going to the background. Neither was he in a hurry nor was he anxious to win the game or finish it.
5. “Direct and immediate feedback. We capture successes and failures during the course of the activity and our behavior adjusts as they occur. “
During the game a good hit gave me security and the possibility of repeating or improving and a bad blow allowed me to the next to overcome, everything was done spontaneously. Without judgments, in a balanced emotional state.
6. “To maintain the balance between skill and challenge.”
My opponent had a similar level to mine, I felt that my skill playing tennis was enough to cope with. “
7. “Feel that the situation or activity is controlled.”
He played with full confidence, he felt that he would respond effectively to his kick or any blow. If it did not affect me, I learned to face the next blow.
8. “The activity is intrinsically gratifying, so the action to perform it is fluid.”
My head passed thoughts like “I enjoy the game”, “I enjoy hitting the ball and challenging the opposite at each point.”
9. “In the state of flow” the action takes place effortlessly and our focus of consciousness is reduced only to activity. “
Certainly, playing in “flow” state did not consider that he was making an effort even though physical activity was present. Enjoying and with full consciousness in the game, I felt no effort (fatigue I really noticed once the game ended).
Tim Gallwey on the other hand, in his book “The Indoor Game of tennis” refers to this same phenomenon as “being in the area” and says that you can not search, which arrives spontaneously. The only thing you can do is “put focus” and let yourself go, leaving aside those thoughts of your own that want to “control” the situation (he calls “Yo1” to these thoughts) and therefore do not allow you to flow.
I think everyone can find their own recipe to get to this state of “flowing.” I encourage you to investigate, if you have not already done, to find a way to get this precious state.
On what occasions do you flow? Is there something stopping you? What benefits could I have for you?