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But how does one achieve flow? In the context of positive psychology, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi defines nine elements of the FLOW puzzle that lead us to achieve an ideal state of flow: a balance between skill and challenge, being aware of our actions, instant and definite feedback, concentration, the seemingly impossible task of letting go of control, transformation of time, loss of self-consciousness, and autotelic experience
- Recognize the reasons behind your [negative] emotions. Cognitive exercises on mindfulness –achieving a level of awareness of THAT present and precise moment, and acknowledging the feelings and sensations of each moment will act on your emotions in a powerful and conscious manner. The outcome will be more positive than you expect!
- If you don’t know how to, get to it! The challenge you face requires your skills, and perhaps the best skill one has is how to figure things out!
- Manage your self-consciousness by proving yourself constantly, engaging in new and sometimes unattainable (in your mind) tasks. You’ll be amazed at the results. It’s all about the personal reward, not the stigmas in society. Watch your fear of failure walk out the door!
- Avoid distractions. Let’s face it: we cannot eat beans and whistle at the same time. Multi-tasking is becoming more of an overrated term than ever. Your “train of thought” should only allow “passengers” that actually have the same destination.
- Limit the information overflow. Pretending to be able to get the task done with the TV on, while your cell phone is ringing and you are receiving constant notices from your friends on facebook, twitter and whatever social media site you might think is absolutely necessary, is not going to help.
- Plan. A recently published article on the habits of highly effective leaders starts with a list –their list. Whatever your method, planning helps you get organized, allocate the required time, identify your responsibilities and get the pressure of the weight of the world off your back. . Ever notice how the honey-do list actually does get done?
For more on for more on Health and Happiness visit www.howellfoundation.org
Suggested Read: Positive psychology: Where did it come from, where is it going? In K.M. Sheldon, T. B. Kashdan, & M.F. Steger (Eds.), New York, NY: Oxford University Press.