Humans are meant to create. We do it without even realizing. When we cook something, when we choose an outfit to showcase our style, when we organize a shelf we are creating. This sort of creating is different from making music, painting, or writing. It’s more subconscious, but still nonetheless, we’re all innately creative beings from a young age. The world dulls our creativity as we grow up because we learn to become domesticated in our day to day functions. Getting into a flow state is tapping into the subconscious, reuniting with the creative liberty we possessed as children.
As a child, my imagination was encouraged – almost forced – to be wild and free. My siblings and I would play for hours – with dolls, some sort of ball, our bikes, or even in the trees and the dirt. We didn’t realize we were submerged in a flow state, we just knew we were having a good time while staying out of our parents’ hair. As a child, entering a flow state is an organic, natural state of mind.
My grandmother encouraged my creative energy through arts and crafts. She is one of the most creative people I know, always working on some sort of project of sewing, cooking, gardening, or crocheting. I remember as a child all the trips we’d take to Hobby Lobby. I could have browsed that store forever – looking at all the different crafts they had. She’d usually leave with a cart full of fabric or thread and something to keep me preoccupied. I remember making dozens of potholders while sitting in her living room, the purple plastic square that I would loop the fabric through became one of my most prized possessions.
Now, as an adult, entering a flow state is much more difficult. My mind is always swimming, thinking about what needs to be done next, what I’ve already accomplished, and a million other random things. It’s difficult to silence the chatter and create something. Which is why when I do enter that flow state nowadays, it feels so wholesome to let the energy course through me and let my subconscious mind take over.
It’s important for me to enter a flow state a couple times a week because it’s such a calm, relaxed state of mind. I’ve began to take note of different activities I participate in that really put me there.
Listen to a good album or song
I mean really listen to it. Close your eyes and feel the rhythm. Maybe the singer’s voice soothes you or maybe the beat makes you want to dance. Either way, surrendering to the melody is a common way us humans can enter into a flow state.
Do some sort of craft
I like to take washi tape, stickers, and pictures I print off and fill pages in my journal. It’s fun to do and I like to look back and see what I create through different seasons of my life.
Sometimes I’ll make collages from things I cut out of magazines.
There’s so many different types of crafts out there that can induce a flow state. Finding what works best for you is the most important part.
I’ve done yoga sporadically for a couple years, but just recently I’ve been adamant about attending my gym’s yoga class every Sunday. Not only is it an amazing stretch for my sore muscles, it’s a time where I can really be present inside my body. I can take notice of where I’m holding tension and focus my breath on that area to release it. It’s easy to enter a flow state when you keep coming back to your breath. Coming back to your breath is coming back into your own body.
Go on a run / workout
Not only does exercise produce endorphins, it’s also a great way to get into a flow state. I personally do Crossfit and the workouts always demand my full attention. Once my body gets warm and I start to sweat, I really enter into a flow state. Sometimes it’s all about simply surviving the workout. I know if I just keep moving and pushing through then I will eventually complete the workout and get on with the rest of my day.
I know Crossfit isn’t for everyone, but I believe some sort of exercise should be on everyone’s daily agenda. Whatever works for you to get your heart rate up and get a sweat going is your flow state.
Write Morning Pages
This is a good way to not only enter a flow state, but to crank out some writing. I like to set a timer for 15-20 minutes and write as much as I can until it goes off. It’s a good idea to do this in the morning before your brain has a chance to start chattering. No idea is off limits. Sometimes I can get right into it and articulate something decent worth sharing. Other times, I write about random thoughts and ideas I have. One of my professors introduced this practice last year and I frequently visit it when I feel stuck and uninspired. I know I have to get something on the page or else I’ll just be staring at blankness until the timer goes off.
These are just a couple ways I’ve found that can induce a flow state. Everyone is different. What works for me might not necessarily work for you and vice versa. It’s important to experiment with different practices and techniques until you can find what works to get you in your own flow state. The important part is that you do enter the flow state. Universally, it’s a positive state of mind that benefits our mental state.
What are some practices that get you into a flow state?