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A 30 Minute Flowstate Cocktail

flowstate flow videogames gaming virtual reality hrv mindfulness

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#1 jroseland

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 10:30 AM


Ideally we’d all like to reach flowstate with some regularity. How much more productive and happy would that make us? If you’re not lucky enough to live in tiki hut next to a beach where you can go surfing daily I’ll suggest spending a little bit of time on a daily flow practice.

The professional work environment can be counter-intuitive to flow; work often involves rote, repeated tasks that more monotonous than challenging and often business we don’t get immediate (or instantaneous) feedback on our performance it takes weeks, months or years. Thus I would suggest doing this in the middle of your work day to get yourself into a peak state...

 

Mindfulness (15 - 20 minutes)

Focused attention is a really crucial component of flow. Thus you’ll want to spend 15 - 20 minutes doing meditation, brain training or something like HRV training with Heartmath emWave Devices mentioned above -  I’ve reached some very sublime flowstates with cannabis (you probably don’t want to get high on weed in the middle of the workday, so maybe try some small doses of CBD oil) and HRV training, as have others and some research on the Heartmath Institute’s website has some interesting published research.

 

Music

Is perhaps the original flowstate trigger. You want to listen to focus promoting music while trying to reach flow. I find that Brain.FM is great for this but really any holosync style tunes would work. What you probably wouldn’t want to listen to is hip hop or rock music with a lot of lyrics that take a bit of your attention away from what’s ahead of you. Although, some authors would disagree with me, in Tim Ferriss’s excellent Tools of Titans he interviewed some prolific writers that find that listening to the same song (or album) on repeat for hours and hours powerfully simulates creative flow.

 

Skill-Challenge/Clear Goals/Immediate Feedback (10 - 15 minutes)

Immediately before or after (you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you) the mindfulness practice you want to spend a little bit of time doing something that takes some skill but is challenging, where you have a clear goal and you receive immediate pass/fail feedback. Some ideas for this...

Videogames - Especially fast paced videogames where you are racing or shooting are conducive to focus; you have a clear goal like winning a race or killing bad guys and you get immediate feedback  Obviously you’d want to pick a video game with levels that only last about about 10-15 minutes, you don’t want to get sucked into a game that you’re going to want to play for hours.

Gambling - There’s ton of places on the internet where you can play all sorts of gambling games that require focus, there’s stakes (you don’t want to lose money!) and you get immediate feedback. You’d want to pick games of skill as opposed to be games that entailed a lot of randomness.

Gravity - In The Rise of Superman, experiencing gravity is a consistent flow trigger among extreme athletes. You’re probably not going to go free running along the ledges of a skyscraper during your lunch break so you’d want to find a way to experience (or simulate) visceral gravity. You could do this from the safety of your office with a cheap VR headset that you slip your smartphone into.

 

I know that some of you guys are pretty hardcore gamers, which video games or genres do you think might work best for this?



#2 pamojja

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 10:47 AM

Immediately before or after (you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you) the mindfulness practice you want to spend a little bit of time doing something that takes some skill but is challenging, where you have a clear goal and you receive immediate pass/fail feedback. Some ideas for this...

 

In some traditions after mindfulness practice and experiencing flow one practices metta-bhavana (loving-kindness meditation), and thereby expanding the flow to all beings..

 

Traditionally by directing it to all 6 directions (including above and below). A later commentarial approach also practiced has been by directing it first to visualized parents, children, friends, neutral acquaintances and having gained proficiency also enemies at last. However, some might experience difficulty by starting for example with one's mother. In such a case just do that at the end. Or meanwhile leave those out, your not able to yet.

 

Though I didn't tried your other methods (and on the tropical beach with my mud-hut, I go every year, I'm sooner or later rather bored, if I slack in mindfulness), but found metta-bhavana most practical. With this one can accommodate a really grumpy boss too, or any adversarial circumstance without falling immediately out of the flow. And it needs no gadgets then your attention.

 

Metta-bhavana is of course greatly enhanced by having at least a little non-dual grasp of reality. And for that found extended mindfulness practice the best for. Since it's based on experience, and only secondary ideation.


Edited by pamojja, 10 October 2018 - 11:10 AM.


#3 jroseland

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:12 AM

I've tried metta-bhavana, I may try it again BUT it's not a classic flow trigger activity which combines skill/challenge, immediate feedback and a pass/fail clear goal. That's why I'm interested in videogames...



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#4 pamojja

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:52 AM

I've tried metta-bhavana, I may try it again BUT it's not a classic flow trigger activity which combines skill/challenge, immediate feedback and a pass/fail clear goal. That's why I'm interested in videogames...

 

Mindfulness is the trigger for flow, using that same flow for exercising metta-bhavana the skill/challenge and a clear goal.

 

 

PS: But of course it's relative. For me having practiced extensive Mindfulness retreats many decades ago, entering flow through mindfulness is rather trivial, but extended metta still a challenge. And beginners attempting metta-bhavana without flow though mindfulness established, often experience the opposite of metta, raging anger. That's only a sign of mindfulness not really established yet, and the anger actually the perfect object to get serious with exercising mindfulness.
 


Edited by pamojja, 11 October 2018 - 11:23 AM.

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#5 jroseland

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Posted Today, 08:21 AM

A helpful fellow on the Bulletproof forums made some good suggestions; Quake III DeFRaG and Tetris Effect in VR consistently stimulate flowstate. Check them out...

 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: flowstate, flow, videogames, gaming, virtual reality, hrv, mindfulness

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