Written by Katelyn Regenscheid, St. Olaf intern
Positive psychology introduces the concept of “flow,” also known as the secret to happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk explains flow as “a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.” The state of mind called flow is a level of consciousness that we achieve during tasks which deeply engage our minds and/or bodies. After watching this TED talk, I took the chance to reflect on the sources of flow in my own life.
For me, flow comes from a long trail run after weeks of training. It’s found in that moment of awe of and absorption in the natural beauty of my serene world. Sometimes flow even comes to me when I am two hours deep in a literary analysis essay–when I am suddenly so entrenched in the novel that I feel part of it. These flow-producing activities bring my mind and body to a state of positive engagement and contentment.
Finding an activity in which I experience flow is key to my personal happiness. As I move forward in my life, I hope to find more activities and experiences that allow me to achieve flow. Most important to me, I want my vocation to make flow is a common occurrence. Though I know work will not always be a flow-producing experience, I have some hopes of flow in my future.
So, I ask you, what activities produce flow in your life? What are the signs that you are engaging in an activity that will eventually produce flow? Comment below!