Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Many of us wonder how to get “out of our heads” and into a place where our senses, mind and body are connected and operating at the highest state of performance. Maybe it’s because you’re an athlete and want to step up your game. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur and want to create focus and simply 10X your productivity. In both examples we’re talking about the state of flow.
Below are some great resources and quick answers to some of the most asked questions about the flow state. Like all things, practice and continued pursuit of betterment around this topic is going to help you achieve and maintain the flow state. We’ll break it down into these sections:
- What is flow state of mind?
- How do you get into the flow state?
- How long does it take to get into a flow state?
- What are the benefits of flow?
- What is creative flow?
Let’s dive right in!
What is flow state of mind?
According to Neuroscientist Dr. Brett Wingeier, one of the founders of HaloNeuro, “The Flow state of mind is where you’re not even consciously thinking about things or processing moment by moment. It is a state of relaxed high performance.”
Well, ok, what does that mean? A simpler way of explaining it is to say you’ve become so completely focused on what you’re doing both your mind and body are in alignment to achieve that objective.
Ok, let’s put some definition to exactly what being in a state of flow means. Widely considered the man behind naming the psychological concept of Flow, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi breaks down the state of flow into 8 characteristics. Those are:
- Complete concentration on the task
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down)
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding
- Effortlessness and ease
- There is a balance between challenge and skills
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
- There is a feeling of control over the task
The combination of those 8 characteristics says so much about flow. The brain is still very active, right alongside the body. They are fused together with singular focus! That’s amazing. Now, however, how does one get into the flow state?
How do you get into the flow state?
Achieving flow or hacking into the flow state is the real objective here isn’t it? The long answer is practice, practice and practice again. Moving your thinking from the conscious to the subconscious brain is the mechanics of what is happening.
There are programs for “hacking” into the state of flow. One of the most popular available was created by C Wilson Meloncelli, a former MMA (mixed martial arts) champion and stunt performer. Meloncelli created a program to hack into the state of flow that is broken into 3 courses. They are Breathing Flow, Heart of Flow and Back the Flow State.
We’ve also been doing our research and through various sources such as Medium, research from Dr. Joe Dispenza and others we’ve compiled and narrowed what we believe are the 5 essential steps for getting into the flow state:
- Ensure you have had the appropriate sleep and nutrition beforehand
- Block or dedicate time specifically for the activity
- Remove any distractions from where you are training, playing or working
- Write down and clearly verbalize your objective (mantra meditations also work)
- In addition to being hydrated and controlled breathing, utilize a Nootropic like caffeine to give you a boost
What’s important to note here is these are all controllable factors. Each of the 5 steps above are something you can consciously attain in order to put yourself into an unconscious mode of operation.
Another rising authority on getting into the flow state is center who is not only creating training courses but also masterminds and a community centered around flow state achievement. That resource is called the Flow Centre. They have a series of online courses and we recommend starting with their course on the Foundations of Flow.
How long does it take to get into a flow state?
The short answer is it depends. Utilizing something like a Nootropic as mentioned above can give you a kick start. Also, having all the right elements in your environmental help. A good estimate is 15-30 minutes. Techniques like those taught in Meloncelli’s flow hacking course assist.
If you’re an athlete having a good warmup routine before the game or event begins can help. Putting your “mind is the right place” along with warming up the muscles in your body and putting them in sync with your intent (focus) will jump start the process.
What are the benefits of flow?
Again, getting into the state of flow isn’t just for athletes. How many of us have set goals only to look back 3 or 6 months later and realize we didn’t achieve them, or we started but didn’t finish. Getting into the state of flow is a hack for betterment and accomplishment. These aren’t all inclusive, but just some of the benefits of flow are:
- Increased productivity
- Higher Performance
- Skill enhancement (yes, you can use Flow in training too)
What is creative flow?
We mentioned before flow is about removing conscious thought and moving into a place of subconscious. The subconscious mind is where the thoughts, feelings and emotions from all of our past experiences have bundled together. This also includes all the skills and techniques you have learned.
Creative flow is tapping into those skills, techniques and subconscious thoughts. When you’re in a state of flow you’re no longer thinking (which also means doubting or second guessing) your work. In Creative Flow you’re pulling from embedded knowledge of what you “deeply know to be true” and the history of your experiences as well as the cumulation of your talents merge together in an output.
The Grove Center describes creative flow as “… the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does and loses sense of space and time.”
For artists or anyone wanting to express themselves and tap into their creative potential you simply need to get started. There is an expression for writers who are experiences writer’s block that the only way to break the walls of writer’s block is to simply start writing. Set up the environment as stated in the steps above and then just begin. Give it 15-30 minutes and let your creativity come to life.