CAREER ADVANCEMENT / NOV. 14, 2014
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Hacking your brain: Accessing your Flow State

Steven Kotler a best-selling author and proponent of the Flow State speaks about his research regarding his theories, findings and perspectives.

The Flow State is the point in the creative process were the brain undergoes an observable change and becomes hyper-focused in the process of a task, action or idea. Also known as ‘the zone’ artists, musicians, performers and athletes all experience this. It’s the moment when almost in a meditative state their ability becomes elevated due to a state of hyper focus. It exponentially increases work flow and productivity.       

This state has also been seen in meditating monks where although they are able to block out stimulus from the environment they are hyper sensitive to the actions and thoughts of themselves. Jazz musicians such as Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie call it ‘the pocket’ the moment were the music almost made itself because it came with such ease. This is what happens and what helps to access this state.

Loss of self-awareness

Items that under normal circumstances cluster the mind and psyche, these fall back and are actually completely ignored allowing the brain to focus and work more efficiently.

Eradicate breathing/ Inconsistent heart-rate stops

During The Flow State the mind works with less of a load and of course the body follows. That’s why people that access this state during production of their work describe a feeling of euphoria, of ease of creation and production and unencumbered productivity and creativity.

Slowing of time/ The non-perception of the passage of time

This is very evident in creatives when they access this point of highly unrestricted creation/ expression the passage of time isn’t perceivable to them. In athletes it heightens their perception of fast moving opponents, margins and obstacles.  

Practice

This state of hyper-focus and ease of production is not easily accessed and very rare, most virtuoso geniuses in many disciplines can simply access the Flow State a little more often than your average person. With practice though, those moments increase or perhaps they are more aware of the condition necessary to access this point of high focus and effortlessness of production.   

Neuroscientists have observed this state in athletes, musicians, artist and writers. Researchers are actually trying to recreate these brain wave patterns with both electrical impulses and experimental drugs. If it is possible to readily and on-demand to recreate this state it means that people could work, create and perceive in a much more efficient way.  

This could filter not only external but internal distractions as well. As the world becomes further saturated by visual, emotional and auditory distractions it will become more significant to be able to access a way of working that won’t be influenced by this.

If people beyond the aforementioned disciplines could access these ways of working or state of hyper-focus, think about how efficiently any task could be completed. A day’s worth of work could take hours, rest between tasks wouldn’t be necessary as these responsibilities wouldn’t be as tasking emotionally, mentally or even physically (as we know that the body has a psychosomatic response to our psychological state).

Have your experienced this feeling? How did you feel? Would you like to be able to access that state of mind readily? Let’s start a discussion below!

Main image source: riseofsuperman

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