Hello and good day to you, my fellow human beings – all seven-plus billion of you! Incredible, isn’t it? There are seven billion people on our planet, all unique individuals. Even more incredible is that the seven-plus billion of us have a great many things in common. One such commonality is, unfortunately, stress.
Stress comes in many different forms and from a multitude of sources. It also has many rather nasty symptoms. In general, people often find themselves busy, rushed, facing looming deadlines, dealing with conflict, addressing seemingly insurmountable problems and challenges, illnesses both mental and physical. We hurt, we ache, heads pound, stomachs protest, and in general we feel that we’ll explode, and if we don’t explode we’ll certainly implode.
Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? There are many reasons, of course. One predominant reason is that we need to make a living. That looks different for the seven-billion of us, and it may or may not involve economics. Regardless of how we’re doing it, we need to make a living. When we get so wrapped up in it that we are stressed and feeling toxic, it’s time to step back. Happily, it’s possible to shift from focusing on making a living to focus on making a life worth living.
The field of positive psychology is dedicated to helping people do exactly this. They are researching and coming to understand what that means and how to achieve it, and they willingly share tools to help all seven-plus billion of us overcome adversity and create our own life worth living.
In their research, positive psychologists have discovered something called flow. Flow. It sounds peaceful, doesn’t it? It evokes a river, ever bubbling and flowing, paying no attention to obstacles in its way but instead fully present in what it’s doing. Okay, so people aren’t rivers. But we can experience flow nonetheless.
Flow is a state of being. Humans enter flow when we engage in something that captivates us so much that we focus completely on what we’re doing. All other thoughts and worries drift away, the racing thoughts become still, and the experience is one of pure enjoyment.
Where can we find this flow?! The answer is quite personal. Search your heart. What brings you joy? Perhaps cooking or baking, sewing or making crafts. Maybe hiking or biking or boating. Getting lost in a good book. Exercising or playing a favorite sport. The list is endless, and as long it’s not harmful, there’s no such thing as a wrong activity.
Experiencing flow can reduce stress and anxiety, improve overall well-being, and increase happiness and life satisfaction. Experiencing flow happens when we do anything that makes us passionate enough to get into and still enough to be fully immersed. When this happens, we begin to transcend merely making a living and begin to make a life worth living.