The Wonderful Wellbeing of Flow

The Wonderful Wellbeing of Flow

Mindfulness isn’t a specific activity – we’re hard-wired to weave in and out all day long!
Mandy Cooper, Chief Executive.

It’s likely that you meander in and out of ‘flow’ all day long.

Flow is the trance-like state that is entered when captivated by something meaningful – like cooking, painting, writing, flower arranging, driving, listening to music or day dreaming. Most people can relate to the times of complete absorption within a project – to the point of being unaware of interruptions around us.  It can overcome us when we are internet scrolling, bank statement checking, sorting laundry, tidying out wardrobes and reminiscing through boxes of memories and photographs.

Flow gives us utterly absorbed focus; sometimes for moments, occasionally for hours. And it’s good for us.

We can’t discern when we are in flow – the very realisation itself breaks us out of the trance and we remember only in retrospect. It’s impossible to acknowledge, or experience with awareness and curiosity, from within its midst.

Flow gives definition and commitment to our interests and activities; we happily conjoin with these meaningful activities that give our lives dimension and form.

“Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

But flow is all too easy to lose. When people experience low mood, they find that they have little interest in the ‘flow’ activities they previously enjoyed. They stop doing them; through apathy, through exhaustion, through sadness - and uttering the oft-muttered passphrase to depression, ‘What’s the point?’

And suddenly, that ‘you’ space, those reverie moments, those precious escapes and mindful absorptions, have gone, too. Now, there are bored rustlings. Magazines are picked up, leafed a little and then discarded. Fresh ingredients elicit scorn as ready meals are tossed into microwaves. Household chores go undone. Decorating work is unfinished. Shopping is anathema. Offers and invites of dinners and outings go unanswered or unfulfilled.

There’s no flow – and the well of meaning is drying up fast.

But whilst we cannot be aware of being within flow, we certainly know when we are out of it. And this is where the ‘flow of small things’ is crucial. Time limited snippets of activity that can be encouraged and planned; things that take little preparation, with no complexity, that can start to reintroduce flow once more. Setting a task to water the plants. Sweeping a path of its leaves. Lining up books by their height.

And in these mini rivulets of flow, we remember why we love to be here. We develop longing. We re-engage with the echoes of being truly absorbed in these mindful moments – lost to worry and anxiety and the past and the future.

Just immersed in the wondrous wellbeing of this moment, by moment engagement with flow.

 

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Bayberry incorporates mindfulness and ‘flow’ activities within all of our recovery programmes.  If you’re interested in knowing more, please contact us on 0800 690 6366

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