What is a flow state and what is the power of being in one’s flow state?
A flow state is a feeling of being completely absorbed with a deep focus on something that you are beyond the point of distraction creating an effortless momentum. Mihály Csíkszentmihály a psychologist describes this as a state of feeling completely immersed or of being ‘in the zone’. One is aware of a task that needs to be completed, and despite being challenging is possible and with this the sense of time disappears, you forget yourself whilst feeling part of something larger. Continue reading to explore how to find your own flow state.
How can we apply this to physiotherapy?
A flow like state is our ability to focus singularly on one task without distractions playing a part. It is a method of being able to choose a task which is meaningful, ideally challenging but at the edge of abilities and therefore achievable. Science has proved that despite us feeling that we can multi task, we can only effectively focus on one task at a time consciously. Therefore, if we jump from task to task there is a step down then in the level of concentration which in sport can suggest a higher injury rate. It can also then impact on a persons ability to perform specific rehabilitation tasks provided to assist in recovery.
A flow state is a feeling of being completely absorbed with a deep focus on something that you are beyond the point of distraction creating an effortless momentum.
The cost of sleep
The best recommendation to enhance performance and overall health and wellbeing is sleep. Matthew Walker in his book Why we sleep: the new science of sleep and dreams recommends 7- 9 hours sleep each night being the most effective thing to do to rest our brain and body health. If sleep is inhibited, then attention span is impacted upon certainly leading to a large delay in one’s ability to get into a ‘Flow State.’ Read more on the importance of sleep here.
How to reach a flow state
- Mindfulness matters – linking then into the importance of breath.
- Reduction in multitasking: in day to day society we are completing a number of tasks at once, the importance of setting aside some time each day to focus on rehabilitation.
5 top tips to enhance finding your flow state
- Mindfulness: aim to leverage our memory.
- Reducing DISTRACTION: in day to day society we are completing too many tasks at once: set some time a day to focus on physiotherapy to assist with mobility and set physiotherapy exercises.
- Breathing: slowing down our breathing is shown to have a large effect on reducing our cortisol levels and thus reducing stress.
- Focusing on our body: tension materialises in different areas of our body, aim to heighten awareness but focus on relaxation here too.
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