Author – Vedika Jogani
A recent graduate from Ithaca College with a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science, specializing in Mental Performance, Vedika is OMP’s Product and Content Manager. During her studies, Vedika worked closely with Ithaca’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and Women’s Volleyball Team as their Mental Performance Consultant. Vedika is currently completing her Certified Mental Performance Consultant Certification.
Have you ever found yourself in the groove, in total control of your performance? You know, those moments when you are so locked in that time seems to stand still, and you are just ‘in the zone.’.
If you’ve ever felt that way, you’ve experienced what psychologists call ‘flow’. In this state, external and internal distractions vanish, and you are completely immersed in the activity. Physiologically, the prefrontal cortex in your brain which is responsible for thinking and planning becomes less active. This allows other parts of your brain that are responsible for skill execution and focus to function better. In other words, it’s like your performance goes on autopilot, and you make it look effortless.
Here are a few ways to get yourself into a flow state:
To enter this flow state, you need to confront distractions both internal and external. Internally, the clutter of thoughts and worries can pull your attention away from the task at hand. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you regain control by teaching you to observe your thoughts without getting lost in them, keeping you focused on the present moment. Externally, environmental distractions like the crowd can disrupt your flow. Eliminate these distractions to achieve a flow state.
Discovering joy in your sport is a gateway to attaining a flow state. When you relate to your underlying motivations and your values are aligned with your performance, the experience becomes deeply rewarding. When you do that, fun and enjoyment naturally flows making it easier to slip into that amazing flow zone where everything just clicks.
Setting Clear Goals
Clear, specific goals are like your ticket to the flow state. Goals help to keep you track of your progress and allows you to dive into your tasks with full focus and confidence. Participate in something with a clear goal so that your attention can be focused entirely on what you’re doing.
Challenge and Trust Yourself
Achieving the flow state requires a delicate balance of matching your skills to the challenges at hand. Embrace tasks that push your boundaries and provide just the right level of challenge. It is about welcoming those challenges and allowing yourself to grow through them.
In conclusion, embracing the flow state not only fuels your intrinsic motivation but also sharpens your emotional regulation. Use these strategies to tap into flow and elevate your overall performance.