How to Enter The ‘Flow State’ Any Time: 4 Simple Steps

Imagine yourself climbing a great mountain. High above the ground, you cleave to the rocks. You move very deliberately, aware of every placement of your foot, the angles of your body, how your hand grips every protruding stone.

There is no room for error; one lapse in attention can cost you your life. You focus intensely; nothing exists but you and this mountain.

Time seems to slow down, your sense perceptions are heightened – colours are sharper and brighter and each sounds seems to ripple right through you.

Your mind shifts into a new space. A sense of vibrant aliveness, connectedness and peace infuse your being. You feel in tune with life, moving with a precision and poise you don’t fully understand but at the same time relish in. You’re in the zone. You’re in flow.

Once the climb is over, you find yourself at the base of the mountain and back in ‘normal’ life. Your mind slowly returns to its usual state of chattering away.

The vibrant sense of ‘aliveness’and peace you just experienced is slowly receding and becoming a memory (one you cannot wait to relive).

Already, you can’t wait to plan your next climb. You want to experience it again—that feeling you had when your body and mind were completely attuned and connected.

What you experienced was the bliss of mindfulness. You may get caught up in believing that you need the mountain in order to relive that state of vibrant awareness, connectedness and peace, but the truth is that you don’t need the mountain—you only need the mindfulness.

Being in the Zone – The Experience of Mindfulness

Maybe you’re not a mountain climber, but you’ve probably had similar experiences. We’ve all had moments in which we experienced that same sense of heightened awareness. Athletes can experience this feeling in the heat of the game; they refer to that moment as being “in the zone.” The Buddhists call it mindfulness.

Sports and physical activity are not the only way to get into that sacred state. Artists experience it when swept away in an inspired creative frenzy. Writers experience it when they get caught up in the story and the words seem to pour effortlessly onto the page.

Some of us experience it while listening to music, watching a beautiful sunset, working in the garden, holding a deep and meaningful conversation with a friend or when we’re making love.

These are moments in which your mind becomes entirely absorbed in the activity. You forget yourself and your actions become effortless, fluid, with a sense of heightened awareness of the here and now. Time seems to slow down and you experience heightened perceptions.

The Study of Mindfulness – The Flow State

Leading authority on positive psychology, Dr. Mihaly Chentmihalyi, studied this state of being and coined the term flow (1). In the 1960s, he began extensive research on what makes a human being truly happy. He found that money doesn’t make people happy—in fact, his research discovered that there is no real difference in happiness levels between people making $35,000 per year and people making $300,000 or more per year.

Things—personal possessions, luxuries, etc.—also don’t play much part in how happy someone is. Dr. Chentmihalyi found that humans are at their happiest when in flow.

This state of one pointed awareness tends to arise when a person gives his fullest attention to a task that he does for intrinsic reasons—that is, the person does the activity for his own sake, rather than as a means to an end.

The activity takes the person’s undivided attention so the mind is totally absorbed in what he’s doing. When you are in the state of flow, your entire being is immersed in the activity and everything seems to be working together in complete harmony.

Your performance level is often at its peak, you achieve an optimum level of clarity and focus, yet you’re not thinking about it. You’re not judging every move, you’re not planning your next move; you’re just letting it unfold.

In flow, your ‘ego’ withdraws, making way for the process to happen, unimpeded— you’re not conscious of inhibitions, hunger, thirst, fatigue, aches or anything outside of the activity. All worries, thoughts and memories seem to melt away.

Time flies, but you’ll be completely unaware of it, as if you’ve stepped outside of it for the moment. You become one with what you’re doing in flow. Studies done on athletes in “the zone” – the state of flow – show their brain waves operate similarly to the brain waves of those in meditation(2).

Flow is a state of meditation— of mindfulness – that you’re experiencing not while sitting quietly, but while fully and completely absorbed in an activity.

The flow state is also perfect description of the yogic practice of ‘karma yoga’ – the infusion of awareness and action. Through karma yoga, meditation becomes much more than just a technique for the yogi, it becomes a way of life.

So sacred and essential is this teaching that it is the only spiritual practice given in the Bhagavad Gita – one of the world most treasured spiritual texts.

How You Can Enter Mindfulness In 4 Simple Steps

You don’t need a mountain, a sport or even a beautiful sunrise to enter mindfulness. You can simply choose to become mindful once you understand how.

In the Yogic traditions practicing ‘karma yoga’ and Buddhists practicing mindful living, simple tasks are practiced as a means to enter flow.

Instead of focusing on mountain climbing, dancing or other types of intense activity the focus is usually on simply sweeping, washing, walking and mopping.

Practicing with these ‘chores’ is a method by which the practitioner can come to realization that there are no mundane moments, only mundane states of mind. With practice, the same vibrant peace and sense of wellbeing can be embodied while sweeping, meditating or climbing a mountain equally.

Don’t take my word for it though. Try it out for yourself.

Try this. Choose one thing that is a routine daily activity and make it into karma yoga – your mindfulness practice. Make it something simple It may be brushing your teeth, doing the dishes or walking up or down the stairs.

Step 1. Before you begin the activity, pause, then take three deep slow conscious breaths. Let the mind be fully engaged in the breath for that time and nothing else.

Step 2. Focus all of your attention in the present moment. Pretend for the moment that past and future do not exist. Take awareness to your sense perceptions. Be fully present in the now.

Step 3. Slowly, with deliberate movements, go about your activity. Make it into a meditative practice but with an intensity of focus.

Step 4. Remain alert and keep the mind fully attentive to what you are doing in that moment only– not allowing it to slip off into unconscious mind chatter. Be completely absorbed in the activity as if you had just been born into this world. You will find that the activity ‘comes alive’ when you practice it with mindfulness. If your mind does slip off into ‘autopilot’ simply guide it back to being intensely engaged in what your doing.

Practicing in this way immediately makes what was previously just a routine chore into a deeply satisfying and enjoyable moment.

Can you challenge yourself to stay fully ‘present’ for the entire activity?

Over time you can bring flow into more activities during your day. This is a great way to cultivate true happiness and peace in daily life without changing anything at all on the external level of your life. It’s a great way to come to the realization that there are no ordinary moments. Every moment of life is a sacred gift and through the art of mindful living, through moving into flow, we can live every moment to it’s fullest.

Do you have any comments or questions? Jot em’ in them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you. 

Love Melli

1. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; Csíkszentmihályi Mihály


2. Tweeting it:
3. Giving it +1 on Google+:

If you'd like to read more articles like this one, subscribe here

Join the Discussion


  1. Excellent advise. You should also look out for disruptions in the mindful state especially during initial practice days. As soon you begin to lose the mindful state, become aware of that and re-engage yourself to become mindful again in the task at hand.

    • G’day MJ. Thanks for your comment. Yes I agree, as soon as one notices that the flow state has been lost we can deliberately re-engage it as many times as needed. It may take practice but sooooo worth it!

    • While reading your great article I had an epiphany. I realize meditation techniques focus on mindfulness of every day activities, even Dr. Mihaly Chentmihalyi, talks about being mindful in everyday activities.

      However, why not imagine you are actually on a mountain and one wrong step and you are history? Why not do your every day activities using your do or die imagination. Be it sports, sky diving, bungee jumping drama or any gripping all encompassing situations… something you feel strongly about etc. I think it would get you in the flow state much quicker and with more intensity. Imagine doing a task at work with a do or die attitude. Or for that matter studying for a test, dancing, learning a language etc. Do your everyday activities while climbing Mt. Everest in a severe storm would wake you up to reality rather quickly!. I believe this would make your life much more into the tune of “live with passion”

  2. You write beautifully. Thank You for this article.

  3. Thanks for the great article. The introductory paragraph was absorbing, and the article as a whole was instructive.

    Perhaps proof-read your article briefly for grammatical errors; as a reader, noticing too many can subconsciously reduce the legitimacy of the argument of the article.

  4. Wow, this is one of the best articles I’ve read about getting into a state of “flow”. This will really help me out I appreciate it greatly! Cheers

  5. Barbara Barrett says:

    When I’m fully immersed in an activity, whatever that may be, and time passes, I sometimes feel that I missed it. It’s very confusing. It seems that a certain objectivity needs to be maintained to hold on to what takes place. Does this objectivity take away from being “in the moment” or is it part of being in the moment?

  6. Hi, the link to the studies is broken, is there any way I can access them please?

  7. The first few lines of this article got me ‘in the flow’. I focused so effortlessly till the end of this article, it was kinda weird. Never had this level of concentration for a long time now. I loved the experience of reading this article. Will try to do the same in other chores too. Thank you. 😀 🙂

  8. HI, I’d like to learn a specific strategy to tap into flow when playing football (soccer). I feel anxious and tense a lot of the time and end up choking even though I know I have natural ability within me. I’d really appreciate some help with this!

  9. What’s up, all the time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the break of day, since i like to learn more and more.

  10. I was mindfully reading whole at night, that’s usual time I consider myself activated
    one suggestion: can you use highlight color to be Green, (i know silly but)

    and what u meant by the ‘listen to chores’ ?

  11. Really good article. I often come back to this article. It reminds me to enjoy every activity and helps me achieve high levels of productivity

  12. Great intro to entering the flow state.

    I’m actually building an application to help identify the patterns/triggers for flow state:

  13. I very much enjoy your discussion on the ‘Flow State’. I was wondering if the ‘Dr. Mihaly Chentmihalyi’ you refer to in the article is the same Dr Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi who write the books about flow? Maybe it is an alternative spelling of his name?

  14. This is one of the best articles and methods of how to enter the flow state that I have read so far. The approach is clear, simple and genius. The way to put the practice into daily routines, and so train for the activities when you need it the most is exactly what I have been looking for.


  1. […] You can try this technique, which I find works quite well. (Taken from a sweet article at […]

  2. […] it at will. You can also practice mindfulness when going through various activities and routines. This is an interesting article that suggests you can turn washing the dishes into an opportunity to […]

  3. […] a hobby that puts you in a sacred state of flow and do it […]

  4. […] you’re acquainted with mindfulness meditation or not, this first hack has a lot to do with it. It’s all about focusing your complete attention […]

  5. […] mir deutet konzentriertes Bartzwirbeln darauf hin, dass ich gerade in einem Flow-Zustand bin. In solchen Momenten nehme mein Umfeld nicht wahr, reagiere nicht auf Fragen und bin nicht […]

  6. […] time-tested saying mind over matter rings true for hacking into a mental flow state. Mrs. Mindfulness, or Melli the mindfulness blogger and practitioner, writes that practicing mindfulness or […]

  7. […] state of tranquillity. In fact, certain meditative techniques such as the “Flow State” fully embrace this unique benefit. When we begin to lose ourselves in something that we enjoy, the stress and tension will naturally […]

Speak Your Mind


Mrs. Mindfulness