The Secret to Happiness: Just Let it FLOW!


According to Csikszentmihalyi, “FLOW” is a “state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” It is characterized by absolute concentration and satisfaction accompanied by a sense of strength, control, unselfconscious, and transcendence beyond problems, barriers, and stresses. You are present, lose your sense of time, become less aware of emotions or feelings of hunger, thirst, or fatigue and finish the task feeling energized. The more we flow, the happier we are!

Csikszentmihalyi (2000) portrayed FLOW as an “optimal balance between one’s perceived abilities and the perceived challenge of the task at hand; when this optimal balance is present, there is neither boredom (too much skill for the challenge) nor anxiety (too much challenge for the skill).” A recipe for success & satisfaction!

Research has shown that increasing the amount of FLOW in one’s life has many benefits including more life engagement, more life satisfaction, better quality of life, more positive emotions, more resources, and more self-esteem.

Relating this concept to the workplace, Leo Babauta offers some key tips for incorporating “flow” into your daily work life:

  • Choose work you love
  • Choose important tasks (don’t focus on the small stuff- get the big impact stuff done!)
  • Make sure your work is challenging, but not too hard
  • Find your quiet, peak time (find the zone for your ultimate focus and daily energy!)
  • Clear away distractions (and clear away clutter)
  • Learn to focus on that task for as long as possible (a difficult move away from our multi-tasking habits)
  • Enjoy yourself!
  • Keep practicing!
  • Enjoy the rewards! (revel in increased happiness, progress, satisfaction, and productivity)

Stop by the Wellness Centre on Fridays (anytime) to find your FLOW! This week we are offering some Adult Colouring at Oasis to get your creativity flowing!

For a more in-depth perspective on the concept of flow and the research behind it, check out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TEDTalk on the concept at:


Babauta, Leo. 2008. “Nine Steps to Achieving Flow (and Happiness) In Your Work.” Zen Habits.

Emerson, Heather. 1998. “Flow and Occupation: A Review of the Literature.” Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. Vol.65 No.1 37-44.

Moore, Margaret. 2008. “It’s Simple: Flow to Health & Happiness.” IDEA Fitness Journal. Vol.5. Issue 10.



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