When you have no passion, life can sometimes feel a little gray and a little direction-less – it’s like you’re working and living but you don’t really have any goal or any end in sight. While having something you’re really passionate about can make you wake up in the mornings excited to face the day and with more energy and enthusiasm than you otherwise might have.
The reason for this is that passion gives direction and thus it gives life more meaning and color, while making you all the more passionate and engaging as an individual at the same time too. But did you know that passion is also fantastic for your mental health? Or that it can make you more engaged, improve your memory and even increase your reactions?
Introducing Mental Flow States
In psychology there is a term called flow states also know by athletes as “being in the zone” which describes a state of mind where we as humans perform at our optimum level. Our sensory faculties and mental and physical capacities are so intensified that even the most complex tasks or performances seem so automatic and simple. It’s a state of mind where you get heightened awareness and attention, improved reflexes and better memory. Sometimes we might even get a physical strength boost!
Often flow states occur when you’re surfing or engaging in other extreme sports. That’s because the brain is waking up and firing on all cylinders because it knows what’s at stake. You can witness people in a flow state when you are observing an athlete in an incredible or extreme moment of perfection. For example Moto GP World Champion, Marc Marques setting a new lap record beyond what we normally would belief as humanly and physically possible.
However, even if flow states or being in the zone is a state of mind that is more easy to achieve when we are in danger, on the edge, or needing all the energy and strength in our mind and body for peak performance, a ‘flow state’ or ‘being in the zone’ can also be achieved when very relaxed and calm, almost like in a meditative state. A good example of such a flow state would be golfer Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy making a series of eagles and birdies, hitting their iron shots inches from the pin and making exceptional puts on greens with slopes that a normal human eye could not even read…
There are also other moments to be in a flow state, for example when you’re in a very important conversation with someone you care about or when you’re discussing something important or something you are so passionate about that the rest of the world can seem to disappear.
Being in the zone or a flow state is complete 100% focus on what you’re doing and ‘hypofrontality’ where your prefrontal cortex (think inner critic) shuts down and gets out of your way.
This is being in the flow… so what has it got to do with passion?
Living Life With Passion Increases The Flow
The point is, that when you are “in the flow” it’s because your brain knows that what is going on is important. However, you can not become more stressed about it. Well, at the contrary. You need to become more relaxed and confident about it, trust it… That’s when you become more switched on and engaged and you form stronger memories, and faster brainwave reflections in the neural pathways.
There are other ways you can trigger being in the flow though and this is called ‘flow hacking’. One simple way to do this for instance is just to put yourself in a novel environment with lots of stimulus, or envision yourself doing something with perfection and feeling amazing about it. Another way, is to just love what you’re doing.
You see where this is going?
If you spend more time doing the things you really love, then you will find that yourself more times living in the flow. If you are 100% passionate and if you engage yourself, then you will perform better, be more creative, reactive, feeling calm when you normally should be under high pressure and in a state of feeling bliss and total happiness.
Chase the flow by chasing your passions!
There is a big chance that you have experienced being in the flow yourself, please share your moments or post your comments.
We wish you well!
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