Activities and Exercises to Induce a Flow State

4 Exercises to Help Trigger a Flow State

As previously discussed, Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi (2001) suggested the optimal conditions for entering flow are the challenge-skills balance, clear goals and unambiguous feedback.

With this in mind, Sawyer (2007) and later, Kotler (2014) expanded on these dimensions of flow, suggesting that these are in fact just some of the ways in which we can trigger a flow state.

According to Kotler, flow can only arise when all of our attention is focused in the present moment and in order to focus our attention on the present we may need complete exercises to help trigger a flow state by guiding our attention to the here and now.

These flow state triggers suggested by Kotler can be divided into four categories:

Social: the collective flow or group flow happens when people enter a flow state together e.g. within a sports team.

Creative: thinking differently about the challenges you face and approaching them from a different perspective.

Environmental: external qualities in the environment that drive people deeper into ‘the zone’.

Psychological: internal triggers that create more flow.

Examples of Exercises:

Social Exercises:

- Try making your group interactions more positive; a positive approach can encourage a feeling of togetherness. Say “Yes” to that new challenge and revel in it.

- If you feel your skill level isn’t where it should be in relation to a task – practice! With familiarity comes confidence.

- Take calculated risks and push your abilities to the very limit.

- Be aware of the group goals, familiarize yourself with what is expected of you from others and focus on playing your part as best you can.

- Speak up! If you are hesitant to voice your opinion or convey an idea – go for it. The elevated risk level of taking yourself out of your comfort zone is an effective flow trigger.

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