Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Go with the Flow...

The definition of happiness - a boat that works. I heard just heard the sweet sound of the new diesel motor, and I know that soon, very soon, the boat will be out of my driveway, and in it's rightful place, the ocean...yay!
And of course, my husband is ecstatic, as are BF#1 and BF#2 and all the random people who seemed to have shown up over the last few days.
I am happy for them.
Funnily enough, although they are delighted at the sound of a working engine, there has been a happy buzz around the place, along with earnest discussion, as they have replaced the motor, re-wired the boat, and countless other jobs that have kept them busy from dawn to dusk.

And if got me thinking.....

A long time ago, after I had left education, and was working in a soul-sucking job for a property development company based in Weybridge, I started studying Psychology via the Open University just for the hell of it. (Actually, I had to do something to stop my brain from atrophying).

I really enjoyed the course, and one of the texts that we had to read, stayed with me (somewhere I have the copy of the book)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I know) researched happiness. He found (along with many other researchers) that after a certain level of material well being has been reached, no further increase in material wealth will increase our level of happiness.

His research, firstly with creative people such as artists and musicians, and then further research with factory workers, found that we are most happy when we reach a "flow" state.

Very simply, a flow state is when you are so absorbed in your activity that you don't notice the time, you don't realize that you have missed a are totally and utterly in the zone...

And this state could be achieved, even if the work, on the face of it, is mundane and repetitive.

My husband and his friends have achieved this flow state over the last few days working on the boat.

Wine robs you of this.

Wine makes it impossible for you to achieve this amazing state of flow. Because your brain (on wine) is more concerned with it's next fix, not the activity at hand.

When I think of all those Saturday afternoons, when I had finished cleaning and laundry - I had fleeting thoughts of pulling out my writing, working on my business, working in the garden....doing anything that would get me into that zone of happiness......

But instead, I numbed those thoughts with wine, I drifted into a different zone of nothingness...

Very gradually, I have managed to return to a flow state. I more often find myself working and forgetting the time, and being really cheerful about it.

The irritating P.A.W.S gets in the way some days, but I know over time, those restless days will become less and less.

Some day soon.......the Flow of Happiness.....will have totally replaced the Zone of Nothingness.


  1. Are you reading this book with us as part of the book club?
    If not, that's an odd coincidence.

    Sober Book Club – ‘Flow’, Chapter 2, ‘The Anatomy of Consciousness’
    this chapter examines how consciousness itself works. it is highly detailed and started me off on further research on this topic which you may or may not be interested in! I have little previous knowledge in this area so found many of the terms off-putting when bandied about – phenomenological being perhaps my least favourite […]

    1. No Anne, I'm not, I didn't know about the book club. I've always been interested in Psychology, and this researcher in particular - even though I can't pronounce his name!

    2. Having had a quick scan of the link that you posted, I think that the research is quite different - here's a link that explains MC's work a bit more, if your interested xx

  2. Hi WB! I've been interested in flow too. I did some research when I was writing a post on Mindfulness, and - in fact - mindfulness and flow are almost identical. Great need about the boat! Xx

  3. I wonder sometimes if I've forever damaged my ability to achieve that "flow." Did all those years when the flow of drink drowned out everything else, change the chemistry in my brain somehow. I now find it even hard to bury myself in a book, my brain and body just don't want to stay in one place. And writing...oh, I can find so many distractions. But regardless, I will keep striving for it, that elusive flow. I yearn for it. It reminds me of my childhood and those golden times my friends and I could get so engrossed in a project that we never heard our parents calling us home. I want that again.Thank you for this post that calls me to another place I want to reach.