When was the last time you enjoyed doing something so much that you lost all sense of time and place? Were you writing a blog? Doing the sudoku? At a yoga class? Learning about something online? Positive psychologists call this sense of absorption a state of “flow”. Athletes who “get into the zone” are seeking flow to enhance their performance. We mothers can seek flow to help us flourish!
Positive Psychology suggests that engagement in our daily activities is one of the key factors contributing to our enjoyment of life and wellbeing. We get a sense of momentum, focus and purpose. We feel good about ourselves. We’ve enjoyed ourselves and this creates a positive cycle of emotions which benefits us, our children and everyone else around us!
The trick to finding flow is to find something that interests us and uses our strengths. It needs to be something which we can do in a relatively short space of time. It requires us to use our skill and should present some challenge.
For example, if you have a zest for life, you might choose to leave your baby in the crèche at your gym and rock a Zumba class. If you love to learn, you might read the National Geographic while feeding your baby. If you are creative, you could work up a collage of photos for a future family year-book. If you love the dynamic of working with others, you could help run the morning for your child’s playgroup.
Finding things we can get absorbed in, some of the time, helps provide an antidote to parts of our day that might be more mundane or quite frankly, boring! Saying that, even our mundane activities can be made more absorbing by doing them in a mindful way. By focusing on the current moment, the activity itself (not trying to multi-task), and batting away random thoughts, we can feel more engaged in what we are doing and get more satisfaction. Easier said than done, I know, but you might find something you can apply this to. I find I can be mindful while I hang out the washing and in fact, I quite enjoy it as “time out” from all that constant multi-tasking.
The important message is to give yourself permission to seek flow. It’s important for you and has positive knock-on effects for those around you. Don’t feel guilty……the mantra for mums if ever I heard one. J
Best wishes from Flourishing Mothers
Adapted by Flourishing Mothers from the work of Martin Seligman and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi