Flow: What It Is, Why It's Important & How We Get You There
We talk about flow experiences A LOT in the studio, but why? For starters, flow experiences are linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression, which are directly connected to our physical health and overall functioning. The thing is, "modern life" increasingly impedes our ability to experience flow state, and the demands of quarantine life make this especially pronounced.
But what is flow exactly? Csikszentmihalyi (pioneer of the concept) describes eight characteristics of flow, and we've lined 'em up with characteristics of our classes and approach.
Complete concentration on the task -> minimized talking and no phone use during class
Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback -> set art materials that provide immediate sensory feedback as you create
Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down) -> we commonly hear "that went fast!"
The experience is intrinsically rewarding-> the act of making art releases dopamine in the brain, making it a pleasurable experience in and of itself
Effortlessness and ease-> we obsessively test the best materials and develop programming that is universally experienced as effortless...
There is a balance between challenge and skills -> but not TOO easy! Our brains need a bit of challenge to "grab on to" and hold our interest
Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination -> by setting you up to lead your own process and be fully in the moment, those pesky worries start to quiet down (see testimonials!)
There is a feeling of control over the task -> you get to make every choice at every point about your own process, and we always make sure there are materials that give you an element of control in your work
That's right, our programming is designed to make ALL of these things happen at once, using the sensory and therapeutic properties of art materials and process to drop you right into that sweet spot. Interestingly, flow is often experienced more in group settings, which is why we're so committed to those community experiences in the studio.
Of course, flow alone isn't the whole story, because we look at the latest research in health, environment, art therapy, and creativity to guide every single part of the experience here. But more on that later!
What are the experiences that help you tap into flow?