The “flow” is a much batted about term in self-improvement circles. It is also sometimes referred to as the “zone.” When you’re in the flow, you’re completely absorbed in an activity. Your perception is heightened, you’re feeling a sense of joy, and you’re probably losing all track of time. You feel in tune with who you really are. You’re at peace.
What you experience when you’re in the flow is complete mindfulness. Once you come out of this flow state, you’re back in “normal” life, and your mind returns to its usual state of being easily distracted, doing too many things at once, and feeling disconnected.
Being in the flow feels amazing, and once you’ve been there, you’re going to want to keep going back. The good news is that with a little practice, it’s not that hard to train yourself to achieve this flow state, and to gently bring yourself back to it when you come out of it.
The following 3 simple steps will help you get into the flow:
1. Take some deep breaths
Focus on your breathing. Notice how shallow your normal breathing pattern may be. Slow your breaths down, and breathe deeply. If you need a little help with this one, watch your cats while they’re at rest. Breathing deeply helps you center yourself and calm your busy mind. Come to think of it, so does just watching your cats breathe!
2. Focus your attention on the present moment
Being fully present in the moment is one of the hardest things for us humans, but cats have this one down pat.
3. Go about your activity
Slowly and deliberately start your activity. Keep your mind fully engaged on what you’re doing in this moment, whether it’s washing the dishes or knitting or working on a project. Make doing your activity into a meditative practice. If you find your mind drifting off to what’s next on the day’s to do list, gently bring it back to the present moment.
Following these three steps can turn even the most mundane tasks into a series of enjoyable and deeply satisfying moments.
And if you need a little help, look to your cats for guidance. They are in a constant state of flow, fully absorbed in everything they do, whether it’s eating, sleeping or playing.