The Four Stages of Flow State 🌊
I’ve always been interested in the concept of flow state, but I always thought of flow state as being something that was so fluid that it never felt rigid or stuck. Flow state, also known as ‘being in the zone’ is a mental state in which you perform an activity and completely immerse yourself in it, with energised focus.
Then my partner brought this epic show on Spotify to my attention recently about Flow state and the four stages that we must go through to keep the flow and feel the benefits.
It suddenly clicked, struggle is part of the flow, and the part that we usually try to escape from! But it is actually the first stage of the flow cycle that is needed in order to achieve fulfilment to any task. It’s how we grow into the people that we are and desire to be.
I stopped practicing pincha for a while as it didn’t feel right in my body, I tried and tried and struggled hard but decided I needed to let it go.. maybe it just isn’t for me? But every so often I’d come back to this pose and it would feel different, better somehow - even though I hadn’t been practicing it. These are the next two parts of the flow state, ‘release’ and ‘flow’. By letting go of the attachment to the outcome and taking a break, you come back to the practice (whatever that may be for you) with a fresh pair of eyes, a new mindset & strengthened neural pathways.
Just like we need to rest and recover from physical activity, like working out our muscles so they can recover and come back stronger, we too must do the same for our mind.
So what are the four stages?
You know that feeling when you try something for the first time and keep failing? Yep, it's frustrating isn't it? This is the first stage of the cycle. It’s tedious, tension rises, adrenaline and cortisol rise in the body, but this is a very important part of the cycle. Push through the struggle. Then move on to the second stage.
Let go of the thing you’re struggling to achieve. If you feel like you’re hitting a wall, great! Walk away from what you’re doing, take a walk, watch a movie, have a bath, lie down. CHILL 💤 In this stage, when you pattern disrupt, we trigger an important chemical shift in the brain - nitric oxide floods the system.
Flow is the elusive state we all seek to find. You go back to the task you were previously working on and BAM! You’re tapped in. Struggle gives way to release which creates the space for flow. In a state where you feel and perform at your best. Your brain is flooded with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and you’re in the zone.
Arguably the most important part of the process, recovery.
Flow takes a big toll on our central nervous system and body. It requires a ton of resources and taps into reserves we’ve been building up for a long time in preparation for flow.
Needless to say, it takes a while for the body to recover and replenish. Give your body the time that it deserves, and don’t rush back into the next struggle phase so quickly.
Flow without recovery will likely lead to injury or burnout.
There’s a huge misconception between the flow state process and flow state stage (which is part of the process), because to be in flow state, one of the most important parts is the first stage - struggle. You’re meant to hit a wall, you’re meant to feel stuck. Even though it doesn’t feel fluid, it’s part of the cycle. The more we can align ourselves with this concept, the easier it will be to find peace within our journey.
But the most essential thing of all to remember, is that flow can’t exist independently of the other three. They work together in synergy, so the cycle must be followed to stay in the zone.
If you want to learn more about how you can embody this concept into your every day life, build confidence and tap into your higher self to manifest all the things you desire in life - waking up excited and in the zone, then join my 3 month Mentorship The Glow Up, or book a discovery call with me today. You deserve to be the best version of yourself. You deserve to feel good!