Flow State

Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Getty Images

What Is Flow State?

Flow is a state of being directly related to an intersection of peak performance and experience. You become one with the performance environment where action and awareness merge seemingly led by an inner knowing or confidence 1. Athletics provides a perfect platform to experience flow which can be considered essential in promoting athlete motivation and persistence. In this state of excellent physical and psychological function, we find an absence of negative thought and self-conscious evaluation 2.

Flow state isn’t reserved for athletes. It can be experienced throughout the spectrum of everyday life, learning, professional and creative activities, and is discovered to occur in members of different cultural, social and age groups 3. It’s a natural human occurrence and a feeling people seek even when no external goals or rewards are motivating them 4.

1 Csikszentmihalyi, M. “Flow. The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York (HarperPerennial) 1990.” (1990).

2 Jackson, Susan A. “Joy, fun, and flow state in sport.” Emotions in Sport (2000): 135-155.

3 Dormashev, Yuri. “13 Flow Experience Explained on the Grounds of an Activity Approach to Attention.” Effortless Attention (2010): 287.

4 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, and Kiyoshi Asakawa. “Universal and cultural dimensions of optimal experiences.” Japanese Psychological Research 58, No. 1 (2016): 4-13.