Reduce Anxiety with the Flow
Our minds hold incredible power to increase happiness and performance when we jump out of our comfort zone and into the flow. When top artists, athletes and CEOs tap into this it ups their game tremendously. Happiness researcher and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines the flow as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” It’s a cognitive state that takes us beyond normal waking consciousness (beta brain waves) to a state where sensory inputs diminish, clearing or minds of unwanted thoughts (alpha wave state). Our sense of time and space disappear as we totally engross in a process rather than its result.
Through biofeedback, alpha waves are shown to be helpful in treating anxiety and depression. These states are linked to beta waves because they can lead to rut-like thinking patterns. Flow improves emotional regulation. Doubts and anxiety fall away, leaving the mind clear for a time. People who regularly immerse in flow report feelings of success, pride, joy and accomplishment.
Typically associated with creative tasks like art making or crafting, flow can be achieved through sports and exercise, workplace projects, chopping wood and other immersive activities. Science is proving our power to change state of mind and live in a state of happiness, regardless of external influence. Distractions disrupt the flow, so take the first step by turning off your smartphone and take a dive in. With regular practice it can lead to to a fully engaged and happier life.
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