How to Get Into the Flow

Photo by melfoody

Written by Raymond Salas

Along with millions of others, I watched the Oprah Winfrey show featuring “The Secret.” There was one thing that Oprah mentioned during that show that really caught my attention. She said that whenever someone is struggling in any area of their life, she always advises them to let go and “find their flow.”

Of course, the phrase “find your flow” is different than “go with the flow,” which implies conforming and following.

So, what does it mean to “find your flow”?

Finding Your Flow

We have all experienced “being in the flow,” also called “being in the zone.” It is a highly focused, empowering state-of-mind where time stops and self-consciousness disappears. It can happen often in very focused activities such as listening to music, playing sports, engaged in deep conversation, and having sex…or of course my favorite one, combining all four of these. : )

The legendary Brazilian soccer player PelĂ© described being in his flow as follows: 

"I felt a strange calmness...a kind of euphoria. I felt I could run all day without tiring, that I could dribble through any (player) of their team or all of them, that I could almost pass through them physically."


When you are really in the flow with your Inner Being, ideas come easily—they are implemented easily. It's fun while you are in the process of them, and it doesn't matter how they unfold; and nothing can go wrong, and it doesn't matter if you don't get it done, it's just fun to do it. Your Inner Being feels no limit. So, anything that feels like limits is something that you have self-imposed. - Abraham-Hicks

Finding Happiness in Your Flow

The term “flow” was made popular by the University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (try pronouncing this name three times quickly), who studied this heightened mental state of true enjoyment for over thirty years. He found that people are the happiest when they are the most absorbed in their actions, with a sense of effortless action known as their “flow.” 

His studies and research show that we are not happiest when engaged in passive activity (e.g., watching TV) or having nothing to do, with no goal to focus on. Small breaks of inactivity are fine, even rejuvenating at times, but Csikszentmihalyi says that a point of “diminishing returns” will be quickly reached in these passive activities.

Maximize Creative Output in Your Flow

In Steve Pavlina’s article “7 Rules for Maximizing Your Creative Output,” his recommendations for entering into this highly creative “flow” include:
  • Define a clear purpose or goal.
  • Identify a compelling motive.
  • Architect a worthy challenge.
  • Provide a conducive environment.
  • Allocate a committed block of time.
  • Prevent interruptions and distractions.
Most of these recommendations are the same as Csikszentmihalyi’s research and findings about how to enter into this “flow” state.

Steve Pavlina also discovered: 

“My best creative output occurs when I’m working on something that will simultaneously benefit myself and others. Being at the extremes of either selfishness or selflessness isn’t effective. I write my best articles when I’m passionate about the topic and expect my writing will genuinely help people.”

I have found the same to be true for me too.

How to Get Into the Flow

To enter into the “flow” state-of-mind, I begin by following Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s findings and Steve Pavlina’s suggestions.

Here are some other guidelines and tools that I have found helpful:

  • Choose to focus on what you enjoy.

I have noticed that when I have not been in the “flow,” often it’s because I am trying to make something work or happen that I don’t enjoy.

Internet marketing expert Stephen Pierce agrees. He says that procrastination is always an issue of desire. If we are putting something off, it’s usually because we really don’t want to do it.

“What you are really wanting to do, as you try to empower yourself, or as you are trying to find that passion, is to just stay focused more of the time on things that make you happy — truly, that is the key!” - Abraham-Hicks

  • Stay open to all possibilities.

In my article “How to Have Beginner’s Luck,” I noted that a powerful practice for me is to have a “beginner’s mind,” where I stay open to all possibilities. From this mindset, I am able to not only have “beginner’s luck” more often, but also release the past and enter into the “flow” state more easily.

  • Meditate.

I have found meditation to be a powerful tool for quieting the chatter of my mind, raising my vibration, and preparing myself to enter into my “flow.”

To meditate, I sit down comfortably in a quiet spot, close my eyes, relax, and watch my breathing for 10-15 minutes. I do not try to control my breathing in any way. I simply watch it.

When my mind wanders or a thought occurs, I bring my attention back to my breathing.

When it is not convenient for me to practice this meditation during the day, I have found an easier way:

“Next time you feel any discomfort… stop in the middle of it and say to yourself, ‘This discomfort that I’m feeling is nothing more than my own awareness of resistance. Time for me to relax and breathe. Relax and breathe. Relax and breathe.’ And you can, in seconds, bring yourself back into comfort.” – Abraham-Hicks

The Key for Getting Into the Flow

For me, the key for getting into the “flow” was the realization that the “flow” is actually just a heightened state of surrender (to the task or activity at hand). Once again, the “missing piece of the puzzle” comes back to me with the familiar message: “Surrender.”

I remember Marianne Williamson once saying that after she got on her knees and surrendered her life to a purpose greater than her own, she realized that it was probably better if she just stayed down there (i.e., surrendered).

Now, I know exactly what she was talking about. Finally!