How to Get Into Flow

How to Get Into Flow

By Mark Henderson Leary |
January 26, 2023

Have you ever been completely absorbed in what you’re doing? Time flies by, and your performance is nothing less than amazing. Then you’ve experienced being in flow! With distractions like our phones, being stressed out, and undersleeping, it’s more difficult to get into a state of flow. When we can control our days and create finish lines for ourselves, we allow our minds to rest so we can experience more focused moments.

We recently had a conversation with peak performance coach Dr. Torrie Higgins from The Flow Research Collective. Their mission is to better understand the science behind peak performance and our optimal state of consciousness and use it to train individuals and organizations. We discussed flow, the effect of stress, and how to plan your days so you can be more successful and experience rest.

Below is a breakdown of what we learned about flow and active recovery.

The Flow Breakdown

Flow: Flow is when you are able to tap into your full potential and execute with 100% effort. When you are unaware of things around you and time speeds up, you are in flow. You don’t get in your own way or overthink things. You don’t question yourself; you just perform at the highest level.

 

The Opposite of Flow: If flow is pure execution, the opposite is all of the things that get in the way. These include distraction, stress, and being underslept. Being exhausted and stressed out with a high cognitive load blocks your ability to get into flow. It’s more difficult nowadays to experience flow because of all the distractions and our just-keep-working mindsets, so we are never relaxed and able to get in the zone.

 

Group Flow: Group flow is a collective ambition. It's when groups have shared clear goals, and everyone's engaged and participating. When you are in a meeting, and everyone is sharing ideas and moving towards the same goal, that’s group flow. Dr. Higgins said, “A wealth of research has shown that group flow is a primary driver of the type of collaboration that generates the highest quality insights and innovation.”

 

Practice Active Recovery

There is a difference between passive recovery and active recovery. Passive is relaxing, while  active recovery is any activity that is actively driving healing and rejuvenation of the mind and the body. Examples of active recovery are sitting in a sauna, steam room, cold therapy, ice baths, cold showers, meditation, massage, and sleep.

 

Being in flow is rare, but when you can take control of your days, your chances of getting into flow increase.

If you want to learn more about flow, check out https://www.leary.cc/podcasts/ydw083.

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