‘Father of Flow:’ Honoring Csíkszentmihályi’s Legacy

Published: September 29, 2023
Category: Mental HealthMind/Body Well-Being

You’re familiar with the expression GO WITH THE FLOW and you’ve probably experienced being suspended in a state of flow.

Today on the anniversary of his birth, we honor the life of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, pioneering Positive Psychology thought leader and world expert on Flow States.

Dr. Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi defined flow as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; when you are in a flow state time seems to slow down or pass quickly.” Some of the most common examples that people share about being in a state of flow are “becoming one with music” or “losing themselves while walking in nature” or “getting swept away in a good book.” 

Think of a time where you were completely absorbed and focused on what you were doing, a time when you felt positive and secure about your abilities and were not worried about failing.  You can write about your flow experience—your thoughts, feelings, and impressions. What was going on? When did you have this experience? Where were you? Who was you with? What was happening? How or what did you feel? How did the experience start? How did you feel after the experience was over? 

When you’re done answering these prompts, you can evaluate how completing this writing exercise makes you feel right now. Perhaps you can think about examples of other activities that you recognize as Flow States in your life. If so, what are these activities? Would it be possible to engage in some of these activities more often? If so, what could be the first step to start making time to enjoy these activities more often?

It was an honor and privilege to meet Dr. Csíkszentmihályi a few times over the years when he presented at the International Positive Psychology World Congresses. In addition to being a brilliant innovator, he was also playful, approachable, and humble.

I’m sending you strength and love,


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