I believe that achieving a state of flow is one of the most important skills anyone could learn. When we are in flow state, we can accelerate learning, enjoy tasks much more, and actually lose track of time because we’ve entered a semi state of bliss and harmony.
Unfortunately, too many people seek these feelings from artificial methods by using medications and alcohol. But there is a way to activate hormones and neurotransmitters naturally.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow describes a state of complete absorption and focus in an activity, where one loses track of time and experiences a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment. According to Csikszentmihalyi, when we learn to do a task mindfully, it’s usually going to give us an experience of flow.
In this article, I will discuss the six neurotransmitters that are believed to be involved in achieving a flow state: dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, anandamide, endorphins, and GABA.
- Achieving a state of flow is important for accelerating learning and enjoying tasks.
- There is a way to activate hormones and neurotransmitters naturally to achieve flow state.
- Mindfulness is key to experiencing flow and the six neurotransmitters involved are dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, anandamide, endorphins, and GABA.
Mindfulness Creates the Experience of Flow
As I have learned, mindfulness is a powerful tool that can significantly increase one’s level of attention with practice. This increased level of attention is essential for creating flow experiences. Flow experiences require attention, and mindfulness is all about attention. By practicing mindfulness regularly, our brain becomes better at paying attention to what we need and want to focus on. This increased level of attention makes flow experiences far more likely.
Another benefit of practicing mindfulness is that it provides immediate feedback. Flow needs direct feedback as to how we’re doing. Through practicing mindfulness, we get immediate feedback because we know second by second if we’re paying attention or if our mind is wandering again. This means that when we notice our mind has drifted away from the present moment, we can gently bring our attention back to the immediate moment. By performing a challenging task and using mindfulness, we are participating in an active process of repeatedly rebalancing our mind to come back to the present moment. Our mind naturally wants to pull us away into other thoughts.
A good exercise to create a flow experience is to drive in a mindful way from work to home. This is a simple challenge for anyone to create a flow experience. Once we’ve done this successfully and entered into flow, we can do it again but with different tasks. Eventually, we will be able to learn faster and complete complex tasks more proficiently.
Using mindfulness with our thoughts and feelings gives us a deep sense of personal control. We become more aware of the choices we have and generate a sense of control. This translates into a better quality of life because we can choose how to react to situations. For example, when driving, if a vehicle cuts in front of us, we have a powerful choice. We can either react and feel annoyed or practice letting it go and focusing on safety and getting to our destination.
Finally, when we use mindfulness, we become overwhelmed that what we are doing and where we’re at is intrinsically rewarding. We begin performing and completing tasks for the experience of just doing them. For example, if we’re driving our car to get home as quickly as we can so we can begin dinner, we’re not going to be able to obtain a flow experience. If we drive to simply enjoy each moment of the journey, noticing things along the way, we can appreciate the flowers along the way and feel the warmth of the sunshine on our arm. We will feel gratitude and in control of our moods.
In conclusion, mindfulness creates the experience of flow by increasing our level of attention, providing immediate feedback, giving us a deep sense of personal control, and making us feel intrinsically rewarded. By practicing mindfulness regularly, we can create more flow experiences in our lives, leading to a better quality of life and increased proficiency in completing complex tasks.
Three other important hormones and body chemicals:
There are many hormones and body chemicals that play important roles in our daily lives. In addition to the well-known hormones like testosterone and estrogen, there are three other important hormones and body chemicals that are worth discussing.
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” because it is released during social bonding activities such as hugging, kissing, and sex. It is also involved in childbirth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland. It has many important functions in the body, including regulating social behavior, reducing stress levels, and promoting feelings of trust and bonding.
Phenylethylamine is a naturally occurring chemical that is found in chocolate and is believed to have mood-enhancing effects. It is also involved in the release of dopamine in the brain. Phenylethylamine is produced by the body and is a precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. It is also thought to play a role in regulating mood and anxiety.
Nitric oxide is a compound in the body that causes blood vessels to widen, which increases circulation and stimulates the release of certain hormones like insulin and human growth hormone. Nitric oxide is produced in the endothelial cells, the single thick wall of cells that comprise the inner lining of blood vessels. Nitric oxide works as a retrograde neurotransmitter in synapses, allows the brain blood flow and also has important roles in intracellular signaling in neurons. Nitric oxide is a gas we make within our own bodies from nitrates and nitrites found naturally in our foods. Good sources include dark green leafy vegetables like kale, arugula, Swiss Chard and spinach. Other great sources include beets, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.
In conclusion, these three hormones and body chemicals play important roles in our daily lives. Oxytocin is involved in social bonding, Phenylethylamine is associated with mood regulation, and Nitric oxide is involved in blood vessel dilation and hormone release.
How Reading a Story Can Affect Our Brain
As Lisa Cron, a renowned author on the elements of story, explains, reading a story is like a chemical cocktail to our brain and nervous system. It triggers the release of inner body hormones such as dopamine, cortisol, and oxytocin.
Dopamine, for instance, is associated with our curiosity and keeps us engaged in the story, making us want to read more to find out what happens next. Cortisol, on the other hand, is the stress hormone that keeps us reading because we feel that something is at stake and something is at risk in the story. However, for a story to have a five-star rating, it must also involve oxytocin.
Oxytocin is involved with the emotion of empathy, which is crucial to caring about the protagonist and the story. It is this empathy that helps us connect with the story on a deeper level. To have a significant impact, the empathy must be more involved than just feeling fear or danger. For instance, it could be a situation where the protagonist is facing a challenging decision that we can relate to or an emotional struggle that resonates with us.
In conclusion, reading a story can have a significant effect on our brain, and the inner body hormones that are triggered when we read can help us connect with the story on a deeper level. By keeping the reader engaged and emotionally invested in the story, authors can create a memorable reading experience that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find my flow state as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, finding your flow state can be challenging, but it is essential for achieving optimal productivity. To find your flow state, you need to engage in activities that you enjoy and are passionate about. This could be anything from brainstorming new ideas to developing a new product or service. It is also essential to eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.
Using the Flow Chart below, you can follow the degree of challenge with the level of skill to see where the two meet within the state of flow. It is within this Flow State that the perception of time changes. You want to be between the anxiety of having too much challenge, and boredom of being unchallenged.
If you find yourself in boredom with too many mundane tasks then hire out that work and work on higher level tasks. If you think you’ve maxed out in your niche business then start something else that will bring back new challenges. That’s where the satisfaction lies.
What are the benefits of finding your flow state as an entrepreneur?
Finding your flow state as an entrepreneur can have several benefits, including increased productivity, improved focus and concentration, and a sense of fulfillment. When you are in your flow state, you are more likely to be creative, innovative, and come up with new ideas. It can also help you to achieve your goals and improve your overall well-being.
What are some examples of flow for entrepreneurs?
Some examples of flow for entrepreneurs include developing a new product or service, brainstorming new ideas, and creating a marketing strategy. It could also be anything that challenges you and requires your full attention and focus.
What are the key stages of the entrepreneurial process?
The key stages of the entrepreneurial process include ideation, market research, product development, marketing, and sales. Each stage requires different skills and expertise, and it is essential to have a clear understanding of each stage to succeed as an entrepreneur.
How can entrepreneurs recognize opportunities and find their flow?
Entrepreneurs can recognize opportunities by staying up to date with industry trends and identifying gaps in the market. To find their flow, entrepreneurs should engage in activities that they are passionate about and that challenge them. It is also essential to eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand.
What are some movies that can boost an entrepreneur’s flow?
Some movies that can boost an entrepreneur’s flow include “The Social Network,” “The Pursuit of Happiness,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” These movies can provide inspiration, motivation, and insights into the entrepreneurial mindset.
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