A Flow State: The Practice That Will Make You Happy

Have you ever experienced the feeling that time has flown by? Have you been so immersed in a task or activity that you lost track of time? Have you been so focused on what you were doing that everything else stopped being a priority? If your answers are yes, congratulations! You already know what it is to feel the flow. One of the most influential psychologists in positive psychology, for his research on happiness, creativity, subjective well-being, and fun, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, developed what he called the “flow state. He affirms that the activities that demand our effort and concentration are the ones that guarantee us happiness.

He calls it “flow” because the people who participated in his experiments used the metaphor of a current that carried them forward, that moved them on no matter what.

So, let’s see what a flow is in a more detailed way and what we can do to make the most of it for our emotional well-being.

What is a flow state?

A flow or a flow state is a subjective state that people experience when they are completely involved in something to the extent of forgetting about time, fatigue, and everything else except the activity itself. It is a positive emotional state where we maintain maximum concentration on what we are doing, and the enjoyment is such that we lose track of time. 

We can experience this emotional state in any activity that gives us pleasure, enjoyment, and happiness. Still, to achieve it, there must be a balance between the challenge of the task and the person’s ability to perform it. If the task is too easy or too tricky, the flow will not occur.

Characteristics and conditions of our activity to reach a flow state:


It is probably one of the most necessary conditions for reaching a flow state. The chosen activity must have achievable objectives, taking into account the person’s skills and abilities. When tasks are too easy for a person, he may feel bored and lack interest. When it’s too complicated, it leads to frustration and giving up. 

So, challenges should balance with personal skills, being in the middle ground between indifference and complexities.

It also can compare with a kind of competition with oneself where you can improve your skills.


When attention is completely absorbed in an activity, what the person is doing occurs almost automatically, spontaneously. It ceases to be conscious of itself as if someone else were acting on its behalf. People who experience it describe it as an experience where the mind runs freely and harmoniously.

The person achieves a high degree of concentration to the extent that attention is completely directed to the action being performed. That is why activities such as meditation or yoga greatly favor the emergence of the flow state.


A person who performs an activity should always be aware of the final goals and purposes that have been achieved. These should be objective, real, specific, and achievable.

It’s also important to feel that a task or activity is being done well. The feeling that you have succeeded in achieving the goal gives you a sense of joy and happiness. And that’s why we need tasks relevant to our skills.

If you, for example, learn to play the guitar, you can be happy that you’re getting better and better at playing chords.

As for me, when I was at the university and needed to write my papers, I clearly remembered that feeling of joy and completeness when one more part of my text was over. The process of writing always helped me to reach a flow state.


In moments of a flow, the attention excludes all the information that occupies the head, which is not helpful for what is being done at that moment; worries, fears, and other aspects of daily life are excluded.

It is essential to stop, discard everything that diverts, and help a mind becomes more resolute by not giving room to any “noise” that may cause him to lose attention and full awareness of the task is carrying out.

So, let’s sum up:

  • Do something that you find interesting.
  • Enjoy what you do.
  • Set clear and achievable goals. Do it in a specific way so that the mind understands the action to be taken.
  • Look for tasks that are in tune with your abilities and skills.
  • Choose activities that pose a manageable challenge that is neither too easy nor too stressful for you.
  • Look for a moment of peace; avoiding distractions will help maintain your attention and concentration on what you are doing.
  • Focus on the process, not the result.

In the end, it’s not that hard, is it? It’s all about letting go, enjoying the journey, and putting our abilities to work as far as we can. 

I’m sure that you make it real.