“To Forget oneself – to lose oneself in the music, in the moment – that kind of absorption seems to be at the heart of every endeavour” – Dani Shapiro
Have you ever lost yourself in a creative moment in time? You were working away, looked up and realised that time has just slipped by? This is called Flow. It occurs when you are completely absorbed in the task at hand. If you have ever experienced flow, you know that there is nothing quite like it. It is the optimal state of consciousness. It is correlated with happiness, so much that Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi said it was a key element of happiness in his TED talk.
Flow, the secret to happiness – https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tedspread
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian psychologist. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state. He is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University – Wikipedia
Flow is associated with many different things. A runner who gets in their zone. A writer who has their streak and just writes. It can even happen with a conversation with a good friend. It is a space in time when you are so involved in that activity that you become so effortless and so aware of what is going on with what you are doing. Time flies, every action, movement, thought follows from the previous one.
When you are During flow, the inner critic is silenced. During flow, there is a temporary quietening. There is no micromanaging and commenting on each decision. There is an increase on each decision. There is an increase in dopamine allowing us to direct our attention for a sustained period and enjoy what we are doing. Read more about dopamine and creativity here in a previous post.
You want to challenge yourself just enough. Too much and you become frustrated, too little and you will become bored.
- Have a goal
Set an intention. This is the reason that we are creative, the reason we sew, the reason we craft.
When we live with an intention on there is a sense of curiosity. We see thing differently. Yes, there are “rules” but as you follow your intention you flow.
- Check in
Give yourself feedback. Check in with your goals. Give yourself a checklist to work towards
- Reduce distraction/avoid interruptions
If you don’t have a dedicated spare room (like myself) try and setup away from the hustle of the house. Or explain to the family that you need some time to just sit and sew uninterrupted. One focused hour per day can turn anyone into a prolific creator, the key is that it must be uninterrupted. When you are interrupted the flow, state stops and takes about 15 minutes to resume.
Keep everything you need at hand so you won’t get distracted looking for things. The quicker you can move from distracted the quicker you will move into that state of flow.
Whether you are looking to use your crafting to enter a state of flow or you already enter a flow state understanding what flow is can only enhance your experience.