In a previous post I discussed how you achieve a flow state when you are completely focused and engaged on your tasks. For some this comes easy, but others may find they need some help to trigger a state of flow. This post discusses some suggestions and practical exercises that can help trigger your flow.
Psychologists infer that these triggers can be categorised as social, creative, environmental or psychological.
Social prompt triggers
Flow state exists when teams or a group of people work together seamlessly to achieve a goal. The social conditions created enhance the team’s performance, productivity, effectiveness and capabilities. When a group have clear goals, know what they have to achieve and understand each other’s capability, they fall into a natural state of flow. There is no room for egos or dominant personalities in a flow state. Each person works together and puts aside their own needs to achieve a collective goal. Some practical social triggers are:
💜 Say yes to new group challenges.
💜 Participate in group activities with a positive mindset.
💜 Take risks and push your abilities to the limit.
💜 Don’t be afraid to learn something new to enhance your capability and confidence.
💜 Understand the team goals and get familiar with what is expected from yourself and your team members.
💜 Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know as moving out of your comfort zone triggers the flow state. Listen and be actively engaged in the moment giving your team undivided attention.
Creative prompt triggers
Flow improves the creative feedback cycle combining the skill of new ideas with being confident in presenting those ideas to others. This involves tapping into your ability to recognise patterns and take risks in creating new ways to do things. Some practical creative triggers as:
🧡 Look for innovative ways to take on each new challenge that presents itself to you.
🧡 Allow your imagination to think outside the box; or better yet, work on the idea there is no box. The only limitation is your imagination.
🧡 Believe in yourself that you can do better to achieve your goal.
🧡 Take a risk and trust in your ability to succeed.
🧡 Immerse yourself in situations normally outside of your comfort zone. When you successfully tackle a challenge unfamiliar, it builds your confidence and increases your belief in yourself and your abilities.
Environmental prompt exercises
Like anything in life it is important to assess the level of risk involved, whether this be physical, mental, social, financial, community or career related. You weigh up the level of risk and understand the consequences of any subsequent action you decide. However, risk also brings with it the opportunity to challenge yourself for personal or professional reward. It may mean you have to step slightly outside of your comfort zone for you to focus and achieve a flow state. No matter what environment you find yourself in will mean adjusting to the unpredictable and new situation where you will learn different techniques to foster a flow state. Some practical environmental triggers are:
💛 Immerse yourself in unpredictable environments that open you up to new experiences.
💛 Pay attention to what happens in the moment.
💛 Participate in activities or events that have high risk personally, emotionally intellectually or socially.
💛 Plan a walk in an unfamiliar environment and immerse yourself in nature. Be mindful and physically aware of how this environment makes you feel.
Psychological prompt exercises
These will trigger your flow state to practise a focus allowing for improved communication. This will help you gain immediate feedback on a task so that you can understand what is expected. You are able to then focus your attention long term to achieve your goal. Some practical psychological triggers are:
💚 Design your own vision and mission as to what you want to achieve.
💚 Understand your own skills and experience for the task at hand
💚 Set your own personal goals and be clear on what they are
Using these triggers will contribute to helping you achieve a state of flow. Once you do, you will discover being in a state of flow has six things in common.
1. A focus on the body – understanding your capability level encourages your ability to take on new challenges
2. A focus on the mind – increasing your mental awareness while decreasing negative thoughts and tension.
3. A focus on your thoughts – increasing your ability to avoid distractions.
4. A focus on communication – improves your understanding of past experiences, your capability and provides a means for self expression and feedback.
5. A focus on lifelong learning – develops an understanding of your skills, knowledge and limitations and what motivates you.
6. A focus on the current task – allows you to find variety and challenges to tailor your actions to meet your goals and achieve a flow state.