You know those bright, brilliant moments in life where your energy is soaring and your mind and body are firing on all cylinders? Thoughts come quickly and clearly and physical movement happens almost effortlessly. You feel free, unshackled from any of life’s resistances and like you can conquer anything.
I frickin love this feeling. Mental and physical effort feels pleasurable. There is momentum behind me and a surge of motivation and purpose. According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, what we experience in these moments is known as flow state, defined as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Csíkszentmihályi, popularised the term in his 1990 book and describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”