The Flow state. What is it? How do I achieve it as an athlete?

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Csíkszentmihályi, who popularised the term in his 1990 book called FLOW, the mental state of flow involves “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

We all have the ability needed to achieve The Flow state. It is a state of mind and emotion that  sets you up for optimal performance and actions and behaviours that are in line with your true values.

The idea of “Flow” has been studied and is well known that if you are in that state, you are simply going to be more effective in whatever it is you want to do.

Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing sport. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

From the book Flow these are the ten factors that can accompany this state are::

1. Having clear goals about what you want to achieve
2. Concentration and focus
3. Participating in an intrinsically rewarding activity
4. Losing feelings of self-consciousness
5. Timelessness; losing track of time passing
6. Being able to immediately judge your own progress; instant feedback on your performance
7. Knowing that your skills align with the goals of the task
8. Feeling control over the situation and the outcome
9. Lack of awareness of physical needs
10. Complete focus on the activity itself

In summary the FLOW state = being immersed in what you are doing and being detached from your emotions or thoughts, because as we know in sport difficult emotions and thoughts, and not knowing how to deal with them can cause Interference which will negatively impact our overall performance as athletes.

Whilst the FLOW state does not guarantee success it certainly increase your chances of performing better.

Why wait to feel good first or wait until you achieve your GOAL, why not get yourself in a feel good first so you can perform good.

Feel Good = Perform Good

In the Sports Mental Toughness Trainer we work on helping setting athletes up so they can be in the FLOW state by setting SMART goals but this is only part of it. Whilst setting goals is required the actual striving for the goals is what gives us purpose and happiness not actually achieving the goal! Achieving the goal is just the cherry on top.

Contact me now to see how you can unlock your full potential.

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