In the Flow

In my first post I used the words “in the flow” to describe how I was feeling (i.e. focused and motivated). I have since become aware that there is a discipline called “positive psychology”  and “flow”  is a term used In that discipline to describe a mental state “in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

With just a little searching on the internet, I found numerous articles on flow: how it is defined, how to get in a state of flow, how flow makes you happy etc. My quick research indicates that Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a positive psychologist, is a leader in this field. I watched an interesting Ted Talks in which he described the concept and explained why he think it happens.

I found the scientific discussions a bit hard to follow but, based on my personal experience, I believe that the state of flow exists. I think that I have experienced flow a couple of times during my life, including one prolonged period six month period in which I felt that I accomplished all of the goals that I had set out for myself at that time.

For me the feeling was elusive and not easy to re-capture but I remember it as being an enjoyable/happy feeling. So, I think learning a bit more about flow and, particularly, how to get in a state of flow, may be a good project for a new leaf.

 

Learning the Hard Way

I have decided that I want to learn more about chilli peppers and how to cook with them. So, I bought a pepper and chopped it up into my omelette. When my lip went numb, I realized that I had been a little over-zealous in the quantity which I had used. The real lesson came when, without washing my hands after handling the chopped pepper, I rubbed my eyes.

Two valuable lessons were learned. First, I should be more careful to understand my food experiments a little better. Secondly, I should have paid more attention when Monica was trying to explain this to me.

Why New Leaf?

I saw a man who looked down on his luck journalling in the Skytrain yesterday. He was very intent on what he was doing and didn’t notice me even though I watched him for a while. I had the sense that he was enjoying what he was doing. Seeing him write in his journal, made me think of a friend who writes for fun. Not sure why, but it occurred to me that I might enjoy writing too. I thought that trying to write a blog might be good way for me to experiment with a bit of writing (and act as a sort of journal).

The name? It seems that I am always turning over a new leaf (just ask my family, friends or staff). Lately, I have been quite focused on diet (some success) and exercise (not so much success). Nevertheless I definitely feel like I am “in the flow” right now. So, another new leaf – trying to write a blog.