Flow state on demand – 3 techniques to get in flow

The flow state is a mental state where you operate at peak performance, tapping into yourself fully and aligning all your resources to focus on the task in hand. Being in flow is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

The flow state is essential for people who operate at the highest levels. Olympic athletes are in flow – or in the zone, as they call it – when they compete. They have to be in order to be able to get a medal or break the world record. They could not do it if they were not fully and completely focussed on the task in hand. Being in flow is not just for athletes however.

If you have ever experienced flow – which I expect you have – then you will know that it is a state that you want to recreate. However you may be frustrated that you cannot easily get into flow. Can you do it again?

Well the good news is that if you have done anything once then the chances are very high that you can do it again. Back to our Olympic athletes, they have to put themselves in the zone on demand – the race won’t wait for them until they happen to be in the right state – they have to create it.

If you don’t think that you have ever been in flow – or at least you cannot remember what it was like, then take heart from the fact that many people access the flow state in many areas of their lives every day. If they can do it, you can do it – we’re all basically the same.

Here are 3 slightly different techniques that have worked for others – try them out and see which help you to access the flow state.

Accessing your flow triggers

If you have already been in flow and can remember what it was like, then this technique is the easiest to try. You are simply going to recreate the situation, meaning the feelings and thoughts that put you in flow in the past. Now don’t panic, thinking that you cannot remember exactly how it came about. Your brain remembers – even if not consciously – just trust that it will remember and allow it to access those cues again.

So to get in flow, close your eyes and take yourself back to the time when you were last in flow. If you cannot think of a time then ask your unconscious mind to remember for you and trust that it will do so. Then hear what you heard, see what you saw and feel what you felt. Feel as if you were back there again and you were experiencing the state of flow. Now intensify all those experiences and feelings, make the sounds louder and the colours brighter. Enjoy the experience again. Now search your memory for another example and repeat the exercise. If you cannot remember one, then again ask your unconscious mind to remember and to put you back into that same state, experiencing what you saw and felt and heard more intensely. When you are experiencing the flow state in your mind, ask your unconscious mind to keep you in that state throughout the day. Then open your eyes and staying with those feelings begin to work on the task in hand.

Go with the flow

This second technique requires you to let go of your desire to control everything and to literally go with the flow!

Instead of getting cross, angry and uptight with everything that seems to happen to you – as if there was some external force deliberately trying to make your life a misery – simply accept that events will just unfold. Believe that you have the resources inside of you to respond appropriately in any circumstance. Trust yourself and stop trying to control the outside.

Focus on accepting life as it comes and accepting the feelings and thoughts that you have as a response. You can tell yourself that it’s OK to feel how you are feeling. The feelings will soon pass anyway whatever they are, just let them come. Stop struggling and start accepting.

You should feel yourself relax and feel more present.

Then focus on being grateful for this moment and focus on what is great about this moment, or this situation. If you cannot think of anything then be grateful that you are starting to learn about being in flow and how exciting it is that this state will serve you both now and in the future.

Think what a wonderful life you will have being in flow every day. Be joyful and thankful and then keep that feeling with you throughout the day by remembering to let go and flow!

Flow like a river

This third technique uses the word flow and builds on the water analogy.

If you have not been in flow before, then this could help you access it for the first time.

So close your eyes and imagine that you are standing in a river. The water is flowing around you – so try and feel that flow around you. Then the next part is to feel the flow going through you as well as round you. Then finally when you can feel that, allow yourself to be carried along by the river in its flow. Effortlessly. You will feel part of the river, moving freely and easily along in flow.

When you are experiencing that feeling of flow, open your eyes and in this new relaxed state start to work on the task in hand, trying to keep hold of that feeling of being in flow. If nothing else you will feel relaxed!