Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives ~ Csíkszentmihályi
Last year I wrote about the benefits of ‘flow state’, or being ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the groove’. In positive psychology, it is known as the ‘mental state’ in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
It also explains why I can spend hours on creative projects and feel content! Have you ever started a new passion project and be completely immersed in it? Well, that’s because you found your “flow state”! And that’s a very good thing because there are many benefits such as enhanced overall wellbeing.
Of course, there are many ways of being in the flow. But one way is to spark creativity. Research shows creativity can reduce stress responses, increase positive emotions. And studies have shown creative self-expression have wide-ranging effects on cognitive and psychosocial health. Getting into your zone and allowing your mind to explore, discover and play.
It’s when we are in our authentic space, free to express ourselves that we experience such positive psychological effects
Named by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, the concept has been widely used across a variety of fields, and it has been claimed to have existed for thousands of years under other names.
I was talking to someone who had been taking antidepressants for years and years, had recently started up a new project and has since said she has not needed to take them anymore. Now, I won’t draw conclusions or suggest any correlation here but it is interesting.
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi says this ‘flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation which he describes as a powerful trait that allows us to enhance overall wellbeing. It can be characterised by a feeling of great absorption, engagement and fulfilment when temporal concerns such as time, food, and ego-self are ignored. Now isn’t that a great state to be in!