You Know that Thing You’re Good At? Yeah, Do More of It
“I felt like I was 9 years old again.”
One of my clients was, in her youth, a competitive figure skater. By the time she went to college she had given up the skating. She was tired of the competition and the pressure.
While under my care, she decided one day to pick up a pair of skates and visit the rink one afternoon. All that muscle memory came flooding back as she moved easily around the rink. Without the pressure of competition, she found herself enjoying the skating. Now she goes every Friday afternoon for at least an hour.
That Feeling of Flow and Why it Makes Us So Deeply Content
I would describe my client’s feeling whilst skating as flow. As she’s skating, she’s focused on what she’s doing, but she’s doing it so well she’s forgotten herself. She is just doing and enjoying. That’s flow theory.
That state of focus and enjoyment can only come when we’re doing something we are good at. Whatever this activity is for you, it is probably not your full-time job. And that’s a good thing. Remember when my client’s full-time job (so to speak) was competitive skating? She was still good at it then, and she liked it, but the pressure of it pulled her out of her flow.
I might express the contentment as working like this:
- When you do things you’re good at, you feel good. You have a sense of accomplishment.
- When you feel good, you think happy thoughts.
- When you have happy thoughts you generate more of the neurochemistry that promotes more happy thoughts.
How Does Flow Fit in With IFS?
What is it that you do that makes you feel that way? It might be…
- A sport or other physical activity, like skating, mountain-climbing, a pick-up game of basketball
- An artistic or craft-y hobby, like sketching statues at the museum, scrapbooking, or building model airplanes
- Puzzles, sodoku, or quiz nights at the local pub, where you challenge your brain. Even a game like Bejeweled on Facebook is a good challenging matching game.
- Something that sounds completely boring to others! A friend of mine really enjoys translating technical documents from Japanese into English. He says he can tells when he finally “gets” it and then everything falls into place.
Close your eyes and think about the kind of activity I’ve described above. As you think of these things, what do you feel inside? Do you find some part of you almost raising its hand and saying “me, me, me!” A playful part within yourself that really wishes you would do more of this activity?
Maybe because this activity is fun?
Your parts may be asking your Self to have more fun. So, Self, what are you waiting for? Give your parts an early gift this year and let them do something fun like this. You’ll feel good from the insight out.