Go with the flow

You know how if you begin typing a phrase into google, it will make some suggestions about how to finish up your search? I just typed in “facebook makes you…” and google gave me this list: unhappy, sad, miserable, lonely, feel depressed.”

This is not an anti-Facebook rant. I love that I got to see an up to date picture of my baby nephew today, and it sent me to an interesting link about the complexity of creative people (http://www.matthewschuler.co/why-creative-people-sometimes-make-no-sense/).  What I am talking about is paying attention to the way certain activities make us feel, and then choosing whether to do them or not accordingly. I don’t feel great when I spend too much time malingering around on social networking sites.

I don’t just mean making negative choices- choosing not to do things that make us feel horrid. There are things we do that we feel better for- more alive- more who we are.

In the 1990s, an American psychology professor named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term “flow”, a state achieved when our skills and energy levels match the task we’re engaged in. Dr Nick Baylis writes in The Rough Guide to Happiness

“What’s likely to promote this productive ‘flow’ state of pleasing engagement with the here and now is reducing our passive pursuits…and replace them with activities that dynamically deploy one or more of our ‘signature strengths…’ Our signature strengths are any skill (physical, emotional or intellectual) that we find so
pleasurable to exercise that we feel invigorated rather than drained by doing so.”

Here’s my top ten flow activities:

1. Getting lost in a good book

2. Cooking up a storm for people who like food as much as I do

3. Digging in the garden

4. Writing

5. Reading stories in my bed with the girls

6. Painting with blue

7. Running. And the feeling of having gone on a run 🙂

8. Being near (contained) fire.

9. Time with friends, particularly funny and interesting
ones (which is all of you pretty much)

10. Hanging out washing on a sunny day.

What are yours?