How to Hack the Flow State

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The ever-elusive state of Flow has been discussed in literature, research, and has been slowly seeping its way into pop culture. Creating Flow while we work is becoming a desired quality as positive job performance is becoming more closely linked with being in a state of Flow.

First off, I’m not here to tell you even more about Flow. I assume you’re reading this because you already know what Flow is and why it’s important. There’s only so much we can discuss and conceptualize when discussing Flow before we have to actually practice it.

My hope, here, is to give you a tool to help improve your ability to create a state of Flow in your own life and performance.

A description of Flow that I particularly enjoy is that of, “experiencing the calm in the eye of the storm.” While in a state of Flow, we feel the pressure and the stress of events that demand our attention but we are able to meet the demands of the moment in a state of relaxation, flexibility, and emotional balance.

But, at the end of the day, we need to experience it ourselves, directly. And, we need to know how to create that experience.

So, without further ado…what we actually need to get into a state of Flow…

Flow requirements:

When we desire to enter into a Flow state, the above requirements are necessary for creating the right conditions that will allow you to slip into the experience.

An interesting side note, SNS activation (activation of our fight, flight, freeze, system) while in a state of Flow gives us energy. This is one of the reasons why it can be easier to take action while in a flow state; we get both the benefits of the relaxation response (PNS) and the energy from our stress response (SNS) which mobilizes us for action.

How you can create Flow states

Follow these steps:

Create a work environment in which you can eliminate distractions

Prepare your body to enter into a Flow state

Designate a workflow that allows you to introduce challenge gradually

This is the formula for Flow.

Find ways to tailor it to your work process and you will no doubt find yourself gliding through your process in a state of relaxation while also maintaining productivity.

Once you find yourself able to create states of Flow then all you have to do is repeat that process over and over again. Once we learn how to create Flow, it’s really just a process of repetition to refine and adjust our process over time.

Breathing yourself into Flow

Since a core component of Flow rests on activating both the SNS and PNS then it follows that breathing can be an instrumental tool to help us achieve Flow since breathing is directly connected to our autonomic response.

Here is a breathing activity designed to get your body prepared for entering into a Flow state. If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, you can read my other articles How to Kill Stress to Death Part 1 and Part 2. These both dissect the process of breathing, provide some pointers, and include some activities to help you get started.

Pro tip: On the out-breath, chant or hum a mantra, prayer, or other some other phrase, quote, or thing that resonates with you. The vagus nerve runs right through the larynx and it will directly improve your vagal tone and help create coherence if you stimulate the vocal cords.

I hope this was helpful for you and you find your work and creative process blessed with Flow so that you may be the badass that you are!

Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.

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Michael Ceccon

Michael Ceccon

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Michael is a man of many hats: counselor, entrepreneur, organizational ninja, philosopher, meditator, coffee junkie, and lover of animals.