Mindfulness Induced Flow

Experience “Flow”

Flow can be defined as a heightened state of consciousness in which you’re completely focused and absorbed in what you’re doing-to the point where mind and body seem to function in perfect harmony without conscious effort. This is also known as being in a “Flow State” or being in “The Zone.”

Flow occurring in athletics is well-established: a hallmark study, for one, demonstrated Flow in elite athletes across 7 different sports. [1]

The pre-workout stage of our mindful strength training system uses focused intention and mindfulness to create a pathway for the Flow experience–research published in the Sports Psychologist, “The Effect of Mindfulness Training on Athletes’ Flow,” supports this specifically: that mindfulness encourages athletes to experience Flow by crystalizing their sense of control and clarity of goals. [2]

Similarly, in the article “Relationships between Mindfulness, Flow Dispositions and Mental Skills Adoption,” the authors determined that high mindfulness is correlated with high Flow dispositions in student-athletes as well as better adoption of related “mental skills” such as attentional and emotional control, goal setting, imagery, and positive self-talk. In short, present-moment focus = performance enhancement. [3]

Other studies, such as “Mindfulness and Acceptance Models in Sport Psychology: A Decade of Basic and Applied Scientific Advancements,” demonstrate the continuing acceptance and legitimacy of mindfulness applications in sports and performance. [4]

In terms of creating a ritual for inducing Flow, the entire Mindful Strength process IS the ritual. Researchers are working towards the same goal: if they want to study Flow, they need to induce it, as close to “on demand” as possible in laboratory settings. This means designing research conditions optimal for participants to lapse into that optimal experience. The gym becomes your laboratory in mindful strength training. [5]

In “Developing an Experimental Induction of Flow,” the authors conclude that “manipulating the balance between challenge and skill has now been shown to be a reasonably successful approach toward inducing flow.” [5] Likewise, in a previous source, the “challenge-skill balance” is referred to as “a key flow disposition.” [4] This is what’s crucial.

Imagine level of skills, level of difficulty or challenge, and a matrix of four possible outcomes: low skills x low challenge = apathy (monotony); low skills x high challenge = anxiety (“in over my head”); high skills x low challenge = boredom (“cakewalk”); and finally high skills x high challenge = flow. [6]

There are six (sometimes broken down into 9) features that charactize the Flow experience: 1) focused concentration on the task at hand; 2) merging of action and awareness; 3) loss of self-consciousness; 4) elevated sense of control; 5) sense of “timelessness”; 6) autotelic/intrinsic motivation, or that the task feels rewarding in and of itself. [7]

So mindful strength training, as a Flow induction method, should continually test and apply itself to at least these 6 Flow criteria:

1) focused concentration: here the pre-workout mindfulness ritual sets the stage.

2) merging of action and awareness: very much the energy practice/breathing component of Mindful Strength Training.

3) loss of self-consciousness: if in a gym setting, ignoring ubiquitous mirrors and other gym members.

4) elevated sense of control: here being up to the challenge (eg, “I CAN lift that amount of weight”) and the skills-challenge balance is key.

5) sense of “timelessness”: ignoring the clock.

6) intrinsic motivation: Mindful Strength Training is pleasurable in and of itself; it feels good and has intrinsic worth, despite extrinsic benefits or motivations (weight-loss, emotional health, self care/health care, image and aesthetics, etc).

Mindfulness is the most powerful means to positively transform your entire be-ing…

Mindful Strength will show you how to use mindfulness to induce Flow in your workouts and create an entirely new experience!