The Concept of "Flow"
In addition to flow, these mental states include anxiety, apathy, arousal, boredom, control, relaxation, and worry; they result when a learner experiences a combination of skill and challenge levels of a task in non-optimal combinations. Flow is the most optimal of these states for learning, as it is where skill level and challenge level of a task are at their highest. This creates an opportunity for learning and intense focus, where learners can even feel that they lose track of time because they are so immersed in the task.
External goals are often present in the background, but they are seldom the main reason why we engage in such activities. The main reason for playing the guitar is that it is enjoyable, and so is talking with people at a party. Not everyone likes to play the guitar or go to parties, but those who spend time on them usually do so because the quality of experience while involved in these activities is intrinsically rewarding. In short, some things are just fun to do.
In the section titled, “Flow State in Sports Psychology” you’ll discover a few more examples. The Flow Research Collective is an interdisciplinary, global approach to tackling questions related to flow and peak performance in a variety of settings including businesses and schools. The focus of some of their research is the potential connection of flow triggers to other positive psychology hot topics like mindsets, grit, and creativity, particularly in educational settings. They designed a flow profile quiz to help people discover their own flow profile. It takes about three minutes to complete, you’ll be asked to give them feedback regarding training you’d like to see their organization offer, and then provide your email address before seeing your results. You’ll also receive emails introducing you to more ways to get into and stay in flow. You’ll also have access to free videos and podcast episodes covering topics such as hacking the flow state, ultimate human performance, how flow drives creativity, and the dark side of flow. If you’re interested in more in-depth information, they offer a self-paced paid course called Flow Fundamentals.
Sometimes described by being "in the zone," reaching this state of flow allows an athlete to experience a loss of self-consciousness and a sense of complete mastery of the performance. Flow can also occur when workers are engaged in tasks where they are able to focus entirely on the project at hand. For example, a writer might experience this while working on a novel or a graphic designer might achieve flow while working on a website illustration.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row. Retrieved January 20, 2019
Spencer, J. (2017, Dec. 3). What is flow theory? What does it mean for our students? Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://youtu.be/iUsOCR1KKms
Swann, C. (2016). Flow in sport. In L. Harmat, F. Orsted. Andersen, F. Ullen, J. Wright & G. Sadlo (Eds.), Flow Experience: Empirical Research and Applications (pp. 51–64). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
Ulrich, M., Keller, J., Hoenig, K., Waller, C., & Gron, G. (2013). Neural correlates of experimental induced flow experiences. NeuroImage, 86, 194–202 doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.019