This blog looks at how hypnosis and flow states work together. So you can program your mind to access flow states more easily, for peak performance and more enjoyment.
Hypnosis Works With Flow States
Hypnosis and flow are both states of consciousness that everyone enters accidentally, sometimes. Hypnosis and flow are both states that everyone would benefit from being able to enter intentionally, more of the time.
Scientific studies have been done into the link between hypnosis and flow. They have found the states are similar, and that they can work together. Studies have mainly focused on sports, because they have more easily quantifiable skills, like golf chipping, basketball free-throws and badminton short serves. Flow states exist in many other areas that are more difficult to measure so precisely.
Research scientists asked these two questions, and got these answers;
1) Can hypnosis improve athletes ability to access flow? Yes.
2) Does accessing flow improve athletic performance? Yes.
This blog, and the accompanying free Hypnosis For Flow States download, is focused on using;
1) Hypnosis to enhance your ability to access flow states.
2) Flow to enhance your performance in your flow activities.
Everyone can experience hypnosis and flow states
It is simply a matter of clearly understanding your natural abilities, and deciding on how to put them to use. So let’s look at hypnosis and flow, how they relate to each other, and how they can benefit you.
Hypnosis is a state of focused attention, where you access the subconscious mind, by going beyond the conscious mind, to benefit by gaining insights or giving suggestions, that are aligned to your ultimate purpose.
Flow is a state of consciousness, where you are completely focused on a challenging activity, so you becoming one with it, stepping out of time and out of yourself, yet use your high skills, so you have peak performance automatically, and feel a deep fulfilment.
One quick way to look generally at the difference main between Flow and Hypnosis is;
1) Hypnotic states occur when you are inactive, as you prepare for activities you will do.
2) Flow states occur when you are active, during challenging activities you are doing.
Hypnosis is also about working through subconscious layers, so we do not do activities, like unhelpful habitual actions or emotional reactions. So hypnosis can be used directly to enhance our experience of flow, and indirectly to remove blocks to the experience of flow.
Flow states for peak performance and fulfilment
Flow is a technical term from the field of Positive Psychology, introduced by Dr Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi in 1975. Many different words have been used to describe flow. Athletes call it ‘being in the zone’, for musicians it’s ‘being in the groove’, for others it’s being ‘at one’, ’zen’, or ‘in the now’.
Flow has been the subject of scientific studies in education and music, many arts and sports and even spiritual practice and computer gaming. Companies have studied flow in the workplace, from factory workers to software programers and financial traders. These studies consistently find that those who can regularly access flow have an edge in their activities - and that their higher achievement comes with less stress, and more fulfilment.
Formula One driver Ayrton Senna explains a state during the Monte Carlo Grand Prix; “I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel."
Researchers into flow began studying top musicians, extreme sportsmen and performers. Then they widened their studies to include many people from all walks of life, and found they also experienced helpful and enjoyable flow states which varied in a scale, from intense to a smaller micro-flow, like an engaging work conversation. So you have experienced flow in many forms. When have you experienced flow?
Have you been writing, doing music or computer work, and been so immersed that hours went by, you forgot about a meal, and you felt your output was coming through you, rather than you trying to do it?
Writers say the book wrote itself, or at least groups of the pages. Musicians say the song just came to them. Sportsmen have little memory of the game, or are entranced by running, or feeling every strike of the ball is just right. Confident drivers on a challenging road become one with the vehicle. Spiritual practitioners doing yoga, tai-chi, aikido or meditation, can experience strong insights into their core teachings. They’re all so tuned into one activity, they tune out all else, even themselves.
Using hypnosis, we can ask your subconscious mind to vividly recall your most valuable performance enhancing experiences of flow. First, let’s get really clear on
What flow is, and what flow is not
Flow has the following three criteria;
1) Clear goals.
2) Immediate feedback.
3) A higher level of challenge, matched to higher level skills.
Flow is not triggered if there isn’t a high challenge matched with high skills. Instead other states are created, such as;
Anxiety; there is higher level of challenge, but not a higher level of skills.
Relaxation; there is a higher level of skills, but not a higher level of challenge.
Apathy; there is not a higher level of challenge, and not a higher level of skills.
So think of an activity, that was challenging, yet you had the high skills required to do it. You did not feel relaxation, anxiety or apathy, nor worry or boredom. You got feedback. so knew how well you were doing. You were so immersed that nothing distracted you. You merged with the activity, did great and felt great doing it.
Preferably choose an activity where you entered into flow spontaneously, and you would like to do that activity in future, and intentionally trigger flow.
If your flow activities in the past were different to the activities you want to trigger flow in in future, that’s okay. During flow, the brain releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin that give pleasure, increased performance, creativity and happiness. The more you focus on any flow, through hypnosis and flow triggering activities, the more you are able to access flow in general.
An important part of achieving flow states is developing a higher level of skill in the activity. If you have any trouble connecting with an experience of flow, think of areas you have high skills. If you haven’t yet developed higher level skills, work on skills you want, and flow states will come.
Think about times and activities when you had flow in the past.
Think about times and activities when you would like to have flow in the future.
Free download for personal and professional life
Then you can download my free free Hypnosis for Flow States MP3 download. This follows the same structure and hypnotic techniques as the scientific studies used with athletes, as detailed published in the scientific journal articles.
My personal experiences of being in flow came as a writer, in sports like flying paragliders and riding motorcycles, and in computer work and social interaction. Once I had experienced it regularly, I felt flow was of such significance that I was not prepared to accept a profession or lifestyle that included too many barriers to entering the flow state.
So in becoming a hypnotherapist and teacher of hypnotherapy and NLP over ten years ago, I switched to a profession that enables me to be in more flow in my work. The high challenge of being very present with each unique client or training class, and responding with high skills developed over a decade of training and experience, requires me to access flow states to do well and enjoy it, so I can keep doing it.
It’s my intention that my free Hypnosis for Flow States download will help you to enter flow states more in your life, to improve your performance and enjoyment of your flow activities.
Why don’t we have more flow in our life?
There are many blocks to flow that create anxiety, apathy, worry, boredom, excess relaxation. We may avoid challenges or not develop high skills for many reasons.
Low confidence. Low self-esteem. Procrastination. Distraction. Unclear goals. Demotivation. Fear. Over excitement. Feeling stuck. Compulsive behaviour. Addiction. Unwanted emotional reactions.
Much of hypnosis is actually de-hypnotising ourselves from the subconscious blocks that prevent us from achieving our goals, and getting into flow. We often have the skills and know what to do - we just don’t do it. We don’t do enough of what we should do. We do too much of what we should not do. This is where ‘not doing’ certain actions or states that block flow, can be as important as skilfully doing activities that trigger flow.
The Hypnosis for Flow States download is directly about flow states. But all my hundred other downloads on many topics are in a way indirectly about flow. We can find 100 ways to get in our own way. And we can choose calm, clear, confident ease so we transcend ourself through optimal fulfilling skilful action that flows through and beyond our self.
This recording is based on those used in scientific studies of flow. At 40 minutes it is 10-15 minutes longer than the average length of a hypnosis recording. To continue to match the scientific process that produced verified results;
1) Chose an activity you would like to do in flow states.
2) Set a baseline by doing your flow activity.
3) Listen to Hypnosis for Flow States once a day for seven days.
4) After seven day do you flow activity, and observe improvements from the baseline.
5) Enjoy looking out for and being aware of your experience of flow states, and using hypnosis to enhance your flow states.
Next Steps - Hypnosis Downloads
Now you’re ready to listen to your free Hypnosis For Flow States download. So you can use hypnosis to enhance your ability to access flow states. And use flow to enhance your performance in your flow activities.
You could also check out the sport performance hypnosis downloads, that use hypnosis and flow states. In sports the term 'in the zone' is most common, so we use this phrase as to mean 'in a flow state'. The individual overcoming fear hypnosis recordings include; 1) Golf In The Zone 2) Badminton In The Zone 3) Basketball In The Zone 4) Cricket In The Zone 5) Snooker In The Zone 6) Football Soccer In The Zone 7) Tennis In The Zone.
More Free Hypnosis Downloads
You can also check out these free downloads; Relaxation Inspiration, Future Self Hypnosis, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation. These can be complementary to enhancing your hypnotic ability and accessing flow states.
1) The Effects of Hypnosis on Flow States and Performance - John Pates, John Palmi, Sheffield Hallam University, 2000
From Journal of Excellence, zoneofexcellence.com, 2002, 48-62.
2) The Effects of Hypnosis on Flow States and Three-Point Shooting Performance in Basketball Players - John Pates, Andy Cummings, Ian Maynard, Sheffield Hallam University, 2000
From The Sport Psychologist, 2002, 16, 34-47.