Finding your flow through activity is known to to be helpful for improved health and self-expression and so as a Health Recovery Coach this is something i work a lot with.
Finding flow through activity can be immensely powerful for allowing us to process our emotions, experience openness, joy, presence and allowing us to move forward in our lives where we may have previously felt stuck or stressed. Expressing ourselves through other means of communication may not always be possible, but to still be able to express ourselves is very important in avoiding repressed emotions that can potentially lead to further health problems if left unexpressed.
Finding flow is not necessarily difficult; it is more just a matter of experimentation, experimentation through experiencing different activities until you find the one that works for you and that you can completely become one with. When you find it you will often know quite quickly because you will experience this state of oneness, although with some activities it can happen overtime once you become more experienced in it. In some cases you can literally release emotions as you do the activity, or you may experience a release or feeling of relaxation after you have completed the activity itself.
It is essential that you enjoy the activity you are doing, as without enjoyment you will find it hard to reach this point of flow. This said actually finding the activity you enjoy and finding flow through it is all that you need to, that is the beauty of it, the activity literally does all the work and expression for you.
Five Steps to Finding your Flow
Step 1 - The Activity
Finding your flow is all about finding the right activity for you and in many circumstances you are doing this already. Any activity where you experience complete enjoyment or oneness with it could be described as a flow experience. So thinking of these types of activities you may already have can help you to find further activities of expression or a way you can do so perhaps through these activities you already have.
Some ideas of optimal flow activities would be;
• Painting/ Drawing
• Other art forms
Step 2 - Immersion
Oftentimes it can be that we already have the idea or do the activity to some extent but we just may not have yet fully immersed ourselves in it or given it enough concentration to enable us to fully find our flow.
Aim to make your activity a priority to participate in regularly at least once a week and really immerse yourself it. This is the really easy part and you'll most likely find yourself naturally wanting to do this when you find an activity that really works for you.
Step 3 - Let go and Enjoy
This is not so much a step as a process that ties in with that of immersion. The only part you have to play here within your conscious awareness is to let go of any problems in your awareness and allow the activity to process it for you.
For example on a minor scale if you have a problem you are mulling over to which you have been unable to come up with the solution, then going in to the gym and working it out physically can have the effect of allowing your mind to creatively come up with a solution, this is the flow process at work on a small level. With something bigger however it work the same it may just take a little longer to work through it.
Step 4 - Be the observer
Whilst you are in the state of flow, you are in the zone and all your problems can dissipate. You can then allow yourself to be the observer of anything that comes up and so allowing it just flow through you. This is in effect is like meditation, do not judge what comes up just allow it to be and let it flow through you.
As Indira Gandhi stated, "Learn to be still in the midst of activity."
Step 5 - Process & Progress
The whole beauty of flow is once you have found the activity the works for you and have some form of goals to achieve (even if at the beginning - that is just to complete the session) then the process of flow happens for you. What I mean by process is just allowing what has come up during the session to come up naturally and process itself, allowing the magic to happen for you. Attempting to judge or analyse can in effect interrupt the process of flow and your enjoyment of it.
Once you continue on your path of flow you will naturally progress, it is important however to set yourself goals and targets in order to prevent boredom setting in.
As long as you feel slightly challenged and enjoy the process this will remain a flow activity for you. You can always find new ones when or if you ever need to. Finding your flow will not only but you back in touch with your emotions but also enable you to reach the point of a higher state of living and experiencing life. If you haven't found it yet, seek to find your flow and you'll know exactly what I mean.
Most of all, enjoy the journey of flow.