How To Achieve Flow State Consistently – The Ultimate Guide

“Your focus determines your reality.”

How To Achieve Flow State – Intro

There seems to be a bit of an uprising going on throughout the world of self improvement. This uprising relates to the topic of how to achieve flow state, and it’s taking many people by storm. The topic of flow state is getting really popular, like REALLY popular. It took the self improvement world by storm and it didn’t just stop there, it’s even being mentioned in schools now.

It’s getting so big, so you know I had to cash in on that momentum and make my next guide all about achieving flow state. I have talked about it before in a previous guide and it was a lot of fun honestly, so I’m glad that i’m able to go all out this time and base an entire guide around flow state.

So I just realized that I’ve been yapping on for a while now and I haven’t even properly introduced flow state, which is kind of the whole purpose of an introduction. So first I say we go ahead and define what a flow state is:

To put it simply, being in a flow state is kind of like being ‘in the zone’ as some would say. It’s that magical moment where time and everything else around you seem to not matter anymore and you get completely absorbed in what you’re doing. It’s a state of heightened focus, where you’ll be at peak performance for whatever task you may be doing. You’ll feel like you’re gliding through everything so effortlessly and seamlessly. In a flow state, you truly do feel unstoppable.

Now we should all be on the same page, and you should also understand what all the hype is about. Like, imagine how much work you could get done if you regularly achieved a flow state. Imagine how much easier and less time consuming homework would be. Imagine how smooth it would be writing job applications in this state.

It sounds amazing doesn’t it? In a way, it almost feels too good to be true. And that’s where the catch comes in – it can be pretty hard to achieve flow state, let alone regularly. Don’t worry though, I never said it was impossible. I know with hard work and dedication, each and every one of you will be able to regularly achieve flow state.

Now let’s not waste another second and dive straight into how you can master flow state and achieve it whenever you want.

The Benefits of Flow state

First of all, I feel like we should properly establish the amazing benefits that come with flow state. I say ‘properly’ because I already kind of talked about them in the intro but it was mainly just my incoherent ramblings. So how about we replace them with some more coherent ramblings? Alright let’s do this.

Enhanced Productivity

As you probably would’ve expected, we’re starting out with the most obvious and useful benefit – enhanced productivity. That being said, I’m not exactly doing flow state much justice by just saying ‘enhanced productivity’. It doesn’t just give you a slight boost in productivity, it can be up to like 5 to 10 times your regular non-flow productivity levels. I’m not even exaggerating or anything, it actually feels like that.

When you’re in a flow state, it’s like time just stands completely still. You’ll be zoned out of everything except the task that you’re focused on. This allows you to just breeze through the task almost effortlessly, getting more work done in significantly less time. At times, you’ll even feel like you’re on autopilot with the way that you cruise through your work. Imagine how cool it would be if you could do all your homework and projects with that level of ease.

Heightened Creativity

Have you ever been given a homework task to do and you simply cannot think of how to start it or what to write? You probably have honestly, we’ve all been there and I’m willing to be that some of us are still in that spot right now. It’s not a good spot to be in, but flow state can get you right out of it.

When you’re in a flow state, your mind will suddenly become a fountain of endless ideas. You’ll be cruising through your work and then all of a sudden, new ideas will just pop into your head. This isn’t just useful for helping out with homework though, this can also help when you’re struggling with ideas for almost any creative task. A good example of this would be content creation. Many content creators often engage in what I like to call flowstorming (pretty cool name right?), which is basically where you brainstorm in a flow state to capitalize on the increased creativity it offers.

Increased Learning and Skill Development

One of they key traits of any flow state is the ability to absorb information more readily. This means that you’re more likely to learn and remember key details that you would otherwise forget. This makes flow state such an excellent tool for pretty much anyone who is willing and ready to learn. And I do mean anyone since this benefit alone is useful to so many different kinds of people.

Your skills will also develop quicker too. This is thanks to the heightened focus that being in a flow state gives you. Let’s take a look at why this is the case. So as we have already established, being in a state of flow makes it so that the only thing you’re focusing on is the task at hand. Due to the lack of distraction that this offers, you’re going to improve a lot faster than if you were constantly taking breaks to scroll on your phone.

Immersive Enjoyment

This benefit honestly isn’t talked about enough, despite how much it actually affects you. Like seriously, you actually enjoy what you’re doing so much more when you’re in a flow state. It gets better though – it even helps you to enjoy the things that you usually dislike doing. I’m not even lying, flow state is that good.

Why is this the case though? I personally believe that it’s because of the sense of productivity and accomplishment that flow (yes, I gave it a nickname, deal with it) provides. This sense of accomplishment will likely fuel you with a rush of dopamine that will enhance the enjoyment of what you may usually consider a mundane task.

Final thoughts

I told you flow state was pretty darn useful didn’t I? Not only are you able to breeze through any task and improve your skills with ease, but you can also enjoy things that you usually hate doing. Imagine actually enjoying homework (okay maybe that’s a little too far). Despite that, the best part about flow is the sheer amount of work you can get done in such a short time frame. It just feels like you’re gliding through work that would otherwise take forever.

Now that we all understand what’s so good about flow state, why don’t we dive a little deeper into how exactly flow state works?

The Characteristics of Flow

Like everything, flow state is defined by some unique characteristics. These characteristics are the core components of flow state since without them, flow wouldn’t even be a thing in the first place. If you want to consistently replicate a flow state, then you need to know these characteristics. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re looking for and you won’t be able to achieve it consistently.

The 4 Components of Flow

Class is in session and we are starting off with the most basic of basics – the 4 defining components that make up what we know as flow state. Without these four things, flow state would note exist at all so make sure to remember them.

Component 1 – Intense Focus

The first of these components is a state of focus that feels more intense than when your mom says your full name. Yes, it’s that intense. This focus is what drives your work ethic during flow state. So the more focused you are, the more you’ll accomplish while in a state of flow.

This intense focus isn’t just any ordinary state of focus however, there are a couple things that differentiate this state of focus from just regular old focus (I’m saying this darn word too much). The first and most obvious difference is that the concentration levels are significantly higher. The other and most significant difference between the two is that potential distractions are a lot less… well, distracting. I have a quick example. You know how when doing homework you can easily get the urge to go on your phone for a little bit? Yeah that does not happen in flow state.

Component 2 – Timelessness

The second of these components is timelessness, something I brought up in the previous section. When you’re in flow state, you’ll start to lose track of time. Hours will feel like minutes and minutes will feel like seconds. Time will just be flying by. So what does this have to do with the previous section then? Immersive enjoyment, that’s what.

You know what they say – “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This could not be more true when it comes to flow state. In fact, that statement pretty much defines flow state perfectly. You’re so immersed in what you’re doing that you’re having fun, which leads to time just flying by.

Component 3 – Clear Goals

When in flow, what you are currently trying to accomplish will constantly stay with you in the back of your mind – this is what our third component is all about. The best way I can describe this feeling is a constant reminder of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s way more than just a reminder though, it’s also a mental beacon that will provide you with guidance towards that very goal you’re currently working on.

It’s thanks to this ‘beacon‘ that flow state helps so much when it comes to coming up with new ideas. Think about it, it makes sense that constantly being reminded of your goals will easily help you to come up with new ways to reach those goals. It’s the strong sense of direction that really does it. It makes it so that you never lose your way when doing your work and you’re always coming up with ways to move forward, ways that you wouldn’t have previously thought of.

Component 4 – Immediate Feedback and Improved Judgement

For our fourth and final component, we have a 2 in 1 special. I know what you may be thinking “Oh isn’t that technically cheating?”. First of all, my site my rules. Second, the two are actually linked which is why I included them in the same section. Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s dive straight into the last piece of the puzzle.

To explain this one, we need to establish another fact about flow that I don’t think I have mentioned yet. When in flow state, you’ll be thinking with a high level of clarity. Your thoughts will be more logical and less emotional, and your analysis skills will also be improved.

This kind of clarity will allow you to give yourself better feedback. You’ll be able to help yourself improved without any personal bias involved which could’ve easily gotten in the way otherwise. This clear state of thinking will also help you to judge your own actions more accurately. You’ll know exactly what to do and you’ll be able to tell if you’re doing the right thing or not with ease. There will be no more self-imposed illusions or lies trying to deceive you.

Recognizing Flow State

Recognizing when you’re actually in a flow state is key to being able to make the most out of one. It’s also useful when trying to replicate it, since you’ll know what to look for. I know that this is pretty straightforward for some of you, but remember that it isn’t for others. This doesn’t mean that you’re better than them, it’s just not as easy to spot for some people. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Enough of that talk, let’s dive into what to look for when trying to identify flow state:

  • Intense Focus: The first and most obvious thing you should look for is that state of intense focus that we previously discussed. The main way you should go about trying to spot this is by checking your temptation levels for indulging in focus breaking activities. Quickly take a look at how tempted you are to quickly pick up your phone and have a scroll for a few minutes. If you temptation levels are low, then you have the right kind of focus.
  • Effortlessness: Here’s another one we kind of discussed earlier, effortlessness. I would honestly say that the main difference between flow and regular focus is this very trait. Even when you are in a focused state, you’ll still be able to feel the level of effort that you’re putting into things. In flow state, everything you do will feel effortless and that makes a huge difference. In fact, it’s the reason that you’re able to just breeze through all your work in the first place.
  • Total Engagement: Another great method that you can use to help identify flow state can be uncovered through your engagement levels. Flow is closely correlated with high engagement levels. The more engaged you are in an activity, the easier you’ll be able to enter into a flow state while doing it. Also, your engagement levels will be at their highest while you’re in flow state. So if you want to identify a flow state, pay attention to how high your engagement levels are.
  • Lost Sense of Time: I mentioned this in the previous section, but you lose total track of time during flow. When trying to identify it, you can use this fact to your advantage. If you have lost your sense of time, then you’re definitely in a flow state. If you haven’t, then you’re just have a regular level of focus.
  • Strong Sense of Clarity: Here’s another one I brought up in the previous section, the strong sense of clarity that flow state provides you. You can once again use this sense of identify a potential flow state and make the most out of it.

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but the general rule of thumb for spotting a flow state is tied to the core components of flow. That’s why there are so many overlapping entries from the last section in this section here. You can use the core components of flow (as well as all the other traits of it) to identify flow state itself, which is actually something a surprising amount people tend to overlook. So make sure not to do that.

The Psychology Behind Flow

To fully understand the characteristics behind flow state, you’ll need to understand the psychology behind it. Understanding the psychology behind flow is essential to being able to replicate it. In fact, you’ll probably never be able to replicate flow state if you don’t understand why it happens in the first place, so let’s look at why it happens.

Skill/Challenge Balance

An optimal balance between your skill level and the challenge of the task is essential for triggering a flow state. I’m willing to bet that it’s probably the main trigger behind flow. Why do I think this? Well let’s think about this for a second, in the next paragraph of course.

Imagine you’re doing a long task that is super easy, you would get bored pretty easily wouldn’t you? The tame and repetitive nature of this kind of task would lead to it feeling boring and mundane. There’s no way you would be able to achieve flow state doing that kind of task due to the lack of engagement that it provides.

Now let’s imagine that you’re trying to do a task that’s really hard, like a task you currently lack the skills for (like a total novice trying to code a game). The extreme challenge of the task would lead to a total lack of engagement, which would never result in flow state. You would never be able to properly engage with a task that you lack the skills for. Of course you work to gain the skills to do harder tasks, but you can’t just jump into the deep end right out the gate.

The Flow Spectrum

While it is true that there is a huge difference between flow and regular focus, flow isn’t just an all-or-nothing state. Flow exists along quite a long and dynamic spectrum. This is because you may experience many variations in the depth and intensity of flow. Keep in mind that flow won’t always be the same, you won’t always be in the same flow state. So now let’s go and take a look at the different types of flow that appear on this spectrum:

  • Micro-Flow: This is the least intense form of flow that exists. Its’ all the way over on the left of the flow spectrum. The best way to describe micro-flow would be a brief moment of heightened focus and engagement. It doesn’t last too long but you’ll be breezing through your work throughout that moment. You’ll be temporarily experiencing the benefits of flow state. An example of this would be when you’re writing an essay and you suddenly get a genius idea for a paragraph. You then breeze through writing that paragraph, with your pen practically on fire. That’s what micro-flow is.
  • In-And-Out Flow: This one sits dead in the middle of the flow spectrum and it functions exactly how you would expect it to function. During in-and-out flow, you’re constantly entering and exiting flow state. It usually happen during extremely long work sessions. This may seem a little similar to micro flow, but there’s one key difference: the bursts of flow are longer and more common. You’re constantly entering and re-entering flow, with the state not being fully stable. if you want a more stable flow, then we’ll have to check out the next point.
  • Macro-Flow: This is the most intense form of flow that exists. Macro-flow exists on the right side of the flow spectrum. It’s a deep, stable, and prolonged state of flow. It can last for many hours and you’ll be at your most productive throughout it. Since it’s the most deep state of flow, it’s also the hardest to achieve. You’ll need every component of flow to line up perfectly. You’ll need the perfect amount of focus, the perfect external conditions and the perfect skill/challenge balance. To achieve this deep state of flow, everything will have to be perfect.

As I already stated, these 3 types of flow all exist along a larger flow spectrum. Micro-flow exists on the far left, in-and-out flow is dead middle on the spectrum, and macro-flow is on the far right side. But what about in-between these designated spots? The best way to describe all that space in-between is like the merging space from point to the next. If that doesn’t make much sense, then think about it like this: the halfway point from micro-flow to in-and-out flow would be a mixture of the two. It would be a stronger version of micro-flow but a weaker version of in-and-out. Make sense now? Cool, then let’s continue.

The Neurochemsitry of Flow

Alright we’re going to dive into a bit of science now so bear with me on this. I’ll try and make it as simple as possible for everyone’s sake (and my sake too). Now that we have got that little disclaimer out of the way, we can start discussing the neuroscience behind flow (in simple terms of course).

Flow state isn’t just a mental experience, it’s also associated with significant changes in brain chemistry. To understand more about flow, we need to dive a little deeper into these changes and explore the effects that they can have on you.

The Role of Dopamine

I’m willing to bet that you have probably heard people talking about dopamine before. We all have by this point, since it’s relevance as a discussion topic is increasing more and more (kind of like flow state). I’m sure you have heard it, all the talk about instant gratification, social media, and dopamine. Social media addiction and dopamine addiction are becoming quite the relevant topics, but I still feel like it’s not enough due to how serious the issue actually is. Enough of that tangent though, let’s explore the role of dopamine in flow.

As you may know, dopamine is one of many hormones that our brains produce. It’s responsible for a number of bodily functions but it’s mainly known as the ‘feel good‘ hormone. Dopamine is known as this because it’s responsible for giving you feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Ever wondered why you feel so good when you accomplish something great? You can thank dopamine for that.

How does all this link to flow? Well it’s simple. During flow state, your dopamine levels will spike. This happens because of the constant sense of accomplishment that you get while in flow. And as we already established, senses of accomplishment cause your dopamine levels to rise. This will naturally make you feel good and it’s the reason that flow feels so enjoyable in the first place.

The Role of Norepinephrine

Yes, I know that name is extremely hard to remember. But you’ll get used to it soon enough. For now, let’s just break down norepinephrine and explain its role in flow state. Norepinephrine doubles as both a neurotransmitter and a hormone. As a neurotransmitter, it’s derived from dopamine and is released by the nerve cells in your brain as well as those near your spinal cord. As a hormone, it’s released in your adrenal glands and it plays a vital role in your fight or flight response system.

So what does this have to do with flow state? To answer that question, I will now turn your attention toward a unique quality of norepinephrine. This quality is that it increases your alertness and allows you to pay closer attention to things. Here’s another fact that may be useful: during flow, your norepinephrine levels rise quite a lot. See what I’m getting at now. The reason you feel so alert while in flow is all thanks to norepinephrine.

The Role of Endorphins

This one should thankfully be a short one. The final topic I want to discuss in this section is the topic of endorphins. You should be more familiar with them than with norepinephrine, since they’re more commonly discussed. If you’re not familiar with endorphins though, they’re hormones that help relieve pain and reduce stress. They’re most commonly released during activities like training or other forms of exercise. The basically the body’s natural painkillers.

As you would expect, endorphins are released during flow. They mainly contribute toward the feeling of being outside of time and it’s all thanks to their ability to reduce pain. The absence of discomfort thanks to endorphins will help you become fully immersed in the activity you’re doing.

Flow State and Brainwave Patterns

I’m sorry to announce that the science-based part of this post is yet to be over. We still have to go over how your brainwave patterns change while in flow state. Once we do this, you’ll be able to understand why flow state provides you with the benefits that it does and we’ll be able to start going over how to replicate it. So let’s just get into it.

Alpha Brainwave Patterns

During the start of flow state, your brainwave patterns will shift from beta wave patterns (associated with conscious thoughts and logical thinking) to alpha wave patterns. Alpha patterns are most commonly associated with a state of relaxed alertness. They most commonly show up during activities like meditation. The shift to alpha brainwave patterns signifies a decrease in self awareness and conscious thought. It shows how immersed you’re becoming.

Theta Brainwave Activity

During deeper states of flow, your levels of theta brainwave activity will rise. The deeper you are into flow state, the more theta brainwave activity you’ll experience. For those who don’t know, theta waves occur during deep states of relaxation. They’re often associated with creativity and moments of inspiration. Once again, they most commonly show up during meditation. In flow state, they help you to come up with new ideas for your work and they contribute to the deep immersive state.

Final Thoughts

You’re not dreaming, the science-based section of this post is over. But before we move on, there’s something important that I want to highlight an important detail about the shift in brainwave patterns. I’m sure you noticed that the shift in brainwave patterns that happens during flow state is extremely similar to the shift that happens during meditation. This is no fluke. The state of mind that you’re in during flow is almost identical to the one you’re in during meditation. During both states, you’re relaxed but attentive, zoned out but focused. They’re both extremely similar and it’s no accident.

The Flow Process

Flow state is not random at all. In order to enter it, you have to follow a specific process each and every time to enter this mental state. You can think of this process as a checklist that allows you to enter flow state once all the entries have been checked. If you have ever entered flow state before, you have already gone through this process even if you aren’t aware that you have. Now let’s not was any more time and dive straight into the flow state process.

Step 1 – Skill/Challenge Balance

That’s right, the skill/challenge balance is back and for good reason. As I established earlier, this is pretty much the most important step in triggering flow. Without a decent balance between skill and challenge, flow will never activate. It doesn’t have to be a perfect balance or anything, it just has to be within the right range. Wondering what that range is? It’s usually when the task isn’t easy but also isn’t overly hard. It should provide enough challenge to where you have to push yourself but not so much challenge that you have no idea what to do. If the task is too easy or too hard for your current skill level, you’ll never achieve flow.

Step 2 – Setting Clear Goals

Remember component 3 from the 4 components of flow? Well it naturally plays a huge role in actual process of achieving flow state. If you don’t have clear goals in mind, then you’ll miss out on achieving flow. These goals need to be as detailed and precise as possible. The clearer they are, the stronger sense of direction you’ll have and the easier you’ll enter flow. Unclear goals can lead to you getting stuck while working, they could easily take you out of flow.

If you’re struggling with setting clear goals, I have a simple brainstorming process That you may find useful. Just to make things clear, I’m mainly referring to short term goals but this process can also be used for long term goals.

Okay so the first thing I do is envision the ultimate goal that I’m trying to achieve. Let’s say that this goal is to make a PowerPoint that’s about all about flow state (sounds familiar) for a school project. I would then ask myself one question “How should I go about doing this?”. No matter what the goal is, you should always ask yourself that one question. From there, you can begin deconstructing the task.

Since this is a PowerPoint I then would ask myself questions like “How long should it be?” or “What should each slide include?” or even “What should the visuals look like?”. Make sure you ask yourself as many of these questions as possible, and that you write them down somewhere too. The next step will be to ask yourself questions about the questions. Here’s an example: for the question “How long should it be?”, I would then ask myself “Should it be 10 slides? if so, how much detail should each slide include and what parts should I focus on?”. You get the idea now. You should then do that as much as possible until you’re satisfied with the goals you have created.

Step 3 – Maintaining Focus

Before I start with step 3, I just realized that I forgot to say something that’s pretty important. Step 1 and 2 should be in place before you even start working. This does seem a little obvious but I feel that it’s necessary to establish that fact. From here on out, all of these steps will occur during flow. With that out of the way, we can now move onto step 3.

The next step is all about maintaining focus. A common misconception about flow is that you enter it as soon as you start working. This simply isn’t true. Entering flow requires an intense amount of focus being built up over a period of time. As this focus is built up, you’ll start to enter micro-flow or in-and-out flow. You may even reach macro-flow if you manage to maintain enough focus over quite a long period of time.

I’m sure you’re expecting this paragraph to provide you with a few tips that’ll help you maintain focus. If you are expecting this, then I’m here to subvert your expectations (in a positive way). I’m not actually going to include any tips here, I’ll be saving them for the next section instead. So look forward to it. Now onto the final step.

Step 4 – Feedback Loops

This final step is all about taking advantage of the immediate feedback that flow provides. As established in the 4 components section, your mind provides you with a constant stream of feedback while in flow. This stream subconsciously assesses your work and tells you if you’re doing the right thing or not. It keeps you on the right track and stops you from half-assing your work.

What if I told you that you can exploit this to create a continuous cycle of feedback and improvement? Actually, you’re probably not that shocked since it’s not that hard to imagine. Regardless, the best way you can use the immediate feedback that flow provides is to take the feedback that your mind is giving you and use it to make real time adjustments to your work. You can then give yourself immediate feedback to assess the adjustments you just made and then use that feedback to make further optimizations. This is what I like to call a feedback loop and it’s a great way to prevent yourself from being lazy and half-assing your work.

Since this is the final step, you’ll need to be in a pretty deep state of flow to take full advantage of the benefits that feedback loops provide. They won’t just happen immediately or out of nowhere. And don’t worry about missing the feedback, it’s pretty hard to do. You know when you don’t think you have done a good job at something and you get a super uncomfortable feeling in your mind? It’s an amplified and more direct version of that, so stay sharp and look for that sort of feeling.

The Elephant In The Room

Before we head onto the next section, there’s a massive metaphorical elephant sat in this section that you may or may not have noticed. That elephant is the fact that many of the steps in the flow state process line up with the 4 main components of flow. This is no accident. They are the main components of flow you know, they play a huge role in every single aspect of flow. One of these aspects is the process of entering flow itself. It makes sense that the components play a huge role when entering flow state, you wouldn’t be able to enter flow without them. I hope that clears things up, let’s move on now.

Tips and Tricks For Achieving Flow

This section is what puts the ‘consistently‘ in ‘How To Achieve Flow State Consistently – The Ultimate Guide‘. While the flow process does indeed outline exactly how you can enter flow state and use it to your advantage, it’s not exactly the most consistent process out there. Most of the time there will be some unknown or unexpected variable present that will prevent you from entering flow (more on those in the next section). A little extra push may be needed to overcome these barriers, and that’s exactly what these tips are for. Now let’s dive right in.

Flow State and Dopamine Detox

One of the most common reasons why people struggle to enter flow is a short attention span. To enter a flow state, you need to remain focused for a decent amount of time without distractions. You need quite a long attention span to enter flow and that causes quite an issue for many people due to one specific reason: the huge attention span crisis that is plaguing gen z.

It’s no secret that most of gen z has a terrible attention span, I even talked about it once in a previous post (it’s a guide all about how to overcome feeling lost, check it out here). The issue goes way deeper than just not being able to pay attention to things for long, it can easily affect every single aspect of your life. You’ll be bored constantly, you won’t feel any motivation to do anything that isn’t stimulating enough, you won’t get any work and you’ll never be able to enter flow state.

The reason why gen z has such a terrible attention span is no secret either. Dopamine addiction is at the heart of this issue. I know that it’s true that you can’t actually get addicted to dopamine, that’s why this addiction manifests itself through another addiction. For gen z, this other addiction is usually one of 2 addictions that I want to talk about a little more.

Social Media Addiction

The first and slightly more common of the two is social media addiction. It’s getting kind of scary how common this addiction is. I see people glued to their phone everywhere I go, taking every chance they get to keep on scrolling. It’s gotten so bad that people have started considering many unhealthy activities normal. To provide an example for one of these ‘unhealthy activities’, you know how when you die in an online game or you’re waiting in the lobby and you decide pull out your phone to go scroll on TikTok? That right there will destroy your attention span. It shows that you can’t handle situations that aren’t stimulating enough, so you pick up your phone to get that stimulation you crave.

Dopamine is at the heart of social media addiction and I’m sure that you’re not surprised by that (this section is about dopamine after all). The reason social media is so addicting in the first place is thanks to dopamine, since scrolling releases a lot of it. I’m sure you remember your first time downloading TikTok, it was so much fun to scroll through the for you page and check out all the different videos people were posting. You felt so happy and at peace, constantly laughing and smiling at all the videos you watched.

Now let’s compare that to how you feel now when you scroll on TikTok. See? I didn’t even need to say it and you already realized my point. I’m still gonna say it through. You feel nothing. You feel absolutely nothing when you scroll now. You don’t feel a fraction of the satisfaction you felt when you first started scrolling.

Want to know why you don’t feel anything anymore? It’s because your brain has gotten used to the high amounts of dopamine that are being released, causing you to not be affected by it anymore. This reduces your attention span, since that numbness is quickly followed by a feeling of boredom which makes you get bored even while still watching videos on social media.

With the urge to constantly scroll on your phone, there’s no chance that you’ll ever be able to enter a deep state of flow.

Vaping/Nicotine addiction

If you asked me how much I despised vaping and the culture behind it (yes, there’s a vaping culture) I wouldn’t stop talking for an entire hour. I could probably write an entire 10,000 word essay on why vaping is terrible and why I hate it so much. Ah if only I had the time… Anyways I’m sure you have guessed that the second of the two main addictions is related to nicotine. I’ll specifically be going over vaping due to how prevalent it is among gen z, but keep in mind that most of the same points apply to the equally disgusting cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

As you may have guessed, vaping also releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain. This release of dopamine is what makes these flavored cancer sticks so addicting in the first place. It’s specifically the nicotine that does this, which is why every single product that contains it highly addictive. Despite all these logical facts and figures, most vapers still claim that they aren’t addicted to these colorful sticks of death. I bet you have heard them say stuff like “Oh I’m not addicted, I can quit whenever I want.”, the logical next step would then be to ask them why they can’t quit now. Listening to all the excuses vapers come up with in response to that question is one of my favorite pastimes.

The process of how people get addicted is pretty standard too. Life is stressful, we all know that. Stress management is such a vital skill to have if you want to be successful in life. But what happens when someone isn’t good at managing their stress? Vaping happens. The main appeal behind these lost life expectancy sticks is that they help you to relieve stress, they make you feel good and at ease. That effect soon wears off though, leaving you feeling even worse than before you took a hit. So what do people do then? They take another hit. This cycle repeats until the cotton candy killer starts having less of an effect on them, so that start vaping more regularly. This cycle then continues on, getting worse with time.

It’s a pretty standard addictive cycle, the only difference is that being addicted to these #notlivingpast50 sticks is deadly. Plus, they’re relatively new products which means that we haven’t seen the full effect of the harm they cause. These things could still cause many unknown problems that we have yet to see. It’s not worth even going near them.

Before I end this section, I want to ask you if you have ever seen how a vaper acts when they haven’t vaped in a while? If you have, then you know that it’s quite a sight to behold. The best way to describe it is erratic, they’re all over the place and many start behaving more aggressively, actively becoming more short tempered. I’ve seen many classmates act like this (one even started twitching).

You should be aware that the erratic stuff mainly happens to the super addicted vapers, and that it’s a bit of an extreme. Lesser addicted vapers will mainly suffer from a lack of focus and concentration, as well as the previously mentioned short temper. Do you think you’ll ever be able to enter flow state while suffering from that? Exactly.

While it is true that vaping will increase your short term focus and help you feel more relaxed, these feelings never last long and you won’t be able to build up any momentum with your focus. You’ll find yourself in a worse state than before you ever took the hit, which will start giving you the urge to vape more. The constant urge to take another hit will also be constantly nagging at you, which will destroy your concentration.

The Solution

Now that I’ve finished on my little tangent, let’s go over the solution that you can use to to break free from these addictions. It’s a little technique that is known as dopamine detox and you may have heard of it before. For those who don’t know what it is, dopamine detox is a set period of time where you completely avoid all dopamine triggers. This period of time can be anywhere from a few hours to entire days. It’s not an easy solution, but it’s an effective one.

Dopamine detox is also pretty much the only way to truly solve the issue. As we know, dopamine makes you feel good and excited. But when you indulge in activities that provide high levels of excitement, like vaping or extensive social media scrolling, your brain will get more used to those levels of excitement. You won’t feel as good as you did when you first started out and you’ll have to increase your exposure to do so. By this point, you’re already on the path to addiction. To break off that path, it makes sense that you would have to decrease your exposure.

If you’re new to detox, then I recommend that you start at a 3 hour period. This has to be a period of spare time, so you can’t be at school or be distracted while doing this. Throughout this period, you shouldn’t touch your phone, your games console or pretty much any piece of technology you own. You also shouldn’t even think about vaping during that time. As you get better at this you should increase the length of the detox period. After 3 hours, you should see if you can do 6 or even 9. After that you could try an entire day, maybe even 2 days.

If you’re wondering what to do during the detox period , I have you covered. You could go on a walk (without music, that’s a dopamine trigger), you could read a book, you could do homework, you could work on some personal projects like a YouTube channel, you could go and hang out with friends, you could go and learn something new like a sport or you could go and work out. It’s easy to forget that there’s so much you can do other than stare at social media and watch Netflix all day, the possibilities are endless.

Dopamine detox is great for flow as well, since practicing it will help improve your concentration. You won’t feel the urge to grab your phone or take a hit from your vape, you’ll only feel pure focus. During a detox, entering flow is only a matter of time.

Meditation and flow

Meditation is another great practice that will serve as a catalyst for achieving flow. This is thanks to the immense concentration that it provides. The best thing about meditation in terms of flow state is that when you combine meditation with dopamine detox, you’ll easily be able to achieve deep states of flow. It’s kind of like a cheat code, one that requires a lot of effort to gain access to. It’s so worth the effort though, since your productivity levels will shoot through the roof.

There are many different types of meditation as well, which means that you have more tools at your disposal that you can use to achieve flow. Now why don’t we take a look at some of these tools and see how you can use them to your advantage?

Concentration Meditation

I feel like too many people seriously undervalue meditation. They always call it boring or dull and claim that it has no benefits. This group of people also likely think that you’re a weirdo for even partaking in meditation. This belief is annoyingly common and it’s only said by people trying too hard to be cool. Most of these guys haven’t even tried meditation, yet they’re also the same people who complain that they never feel motivated or can’t concentrate enough when they work. I find it pretty ironic since one of the most basic forms of meditation, concentration meditation, solves both of these problems.

Concentration meditation is simple but highly effective meditation technique that can solve a common issue that many young people struggle with, that issue being what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Many young people struggle with concentration issues while doing work, probably due to a total lack of motivation. This is especially common with homework (which I seem to be mentioning too many times in this post). The usual thing that this issue results in is a heavy amount of procrastination and no amount of work being completed whatsoever. Concentration meditation can fix this, it makes you so focused that you don’t even have to rely on motivation. Deep flow states are also much easier to achieve when using this technique.

If you want to achieve concentration meditation, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Step 1: Find a peaceful and tranquil meditation spot where you won’t be interrupted and sit in a comfortable position.
  • Step 2: Start doing some basic breathing exercises. Make sure you’re taking deep breaths and that you’re not rushing through it. While doing this, choose one thing to focus on. This can be anything, even the sensation you feel while breathing. I usually like to focus on my goals, since it gives a little motivation boost. Whatever it may be, just make thought is simple and not too complicated.
  • Step 3: You may notice your mind start to wonder away from your focal point. When this happens, gently guide your thoughts back to the focal point. Don’t be too sudden or anything since it may break your concentration.
  • Step 4: Continue this for a little while (I would say at least 10 minutes) until you feel fully focused and ready to work. When you’re ready to end the meditation, take a few deep breaths and bring your focus back to the present.

You’ll find this meditation process extremely useful, and not just for concentration or flow state. It can also be incorporated into other meditation techniques, speaking of which…

Flow Visualization Meditation

Visualization meditation is one of the most prominent types of meditation. It involves mentally visualizing and rehearsing a certain state or activity in order to better execute it in reality. Many people use it to visualize success before taking a test or going to a job interview, it’s a great way to gain more confidence before such important events. And as you guessed, you can indeed use it to visualize flow state. Let’s go over how to do that:

  • Step 1: You’ll first want to start by doing some concentration meditation, this will enhance your focus and also increase the effectiveness of the coming flow visualization.
  • Step 2: This is actually the last step, believe it or not. This doesn’t make flow visualization easy though, since you’ll find that a lot of practice is needed to get good at it. So all you have to do for this step is visualize yourself in a flow state. Make sure you go into detail as well. Imagine yourself effortlessly breezing through all your work, quickly writing paragraph after paragraph. Imagine every single aspect of flow I have mentioned so far. Picture yourself being so concentrated that you’re not aware of anything going on around you, picture the feeling of timelessness and imagine how it makes you even more concentrated, picture the feedback loops and how they’re helping you make changes on the fly, picture anything and everything you can. the more the better.

There’s not really a complex and intricate process for achieving flow visualization, that process is mainly in concentration meditation. I’m sure by now you see what I meant before when I said that concentration meditation would be extremely useful. It’s great for setting up other meditation techniques, due to the increased focus that it provides. However, it plays less of an important in our final meditation technique.


I swear I can’t even go one post without bringing up mindfulness. Not that I mind though, since mindfulness is really useful. Every time I do research into the topics of these posts, I always find mindfulness showing up in one way or another. I’m starting to think it’s the solution to everything… All exaggerations aside, it’s a really important skill to master due to the many benefits it provides, so let’s dive into it.

For those out of the loop, mindfulness is the act of being fully absorbed in the present. This is great because it stops your mind from wondering during important situations. It’s also great for reducing anxiety due to the fact that your mind is only focused on the present instead of your worries.

When it comes to flow state, focusing on the present is key. You won’t be able to enter flow with your mind constantly wondering everywhere, you’ll easily succumb to distractions that way. If you’re focused on the present though, then the only thing you’ll be thinking about is the task at hand. Flow State will become a whole lot easier to achieve when you’re in this frame of mind.

Sorry, I’m not done gushing about mindfulness yet. There’s still one more benefit we have to go over and this one is pretty game changing. For most other meditation practices, it’s advised that you find a nice and quiet spot where nothing can disturb you. For mindfulness, you don’t really have to do this. You can achieve mindfulness in so many different places using many different techniques, it’s extremely versatile. To show you this, let’s go over a few of those techniques:

  • Standard Mindfulness: Before we go over all the unique ways that you can achieve mindfulness, we first need to establish the bread and butter. Before I explain it, just keep in mind that this is my personal technique and that you don’t have to follow it exactly. My standard mindfulness is as follows: I take a few deep breaths to slow my breathing and I then pay attention to my surroundings using the 5 senses. I check what I can see, hear, smell, taste and touch at any given moment and I pay attention to every sense in great detail. This is mindfulness in its simplest form, and you can do this pretty much anywhere.
  • Body Scan: You’ve probably heard of this one before. I’m willing to bet that one of your teachers has made you do this in class before (a few of mine have at least). If you don’t know what it is, it’s a technique where you perform slow breathing exercises and go through each part of your body from head to toe. As you do this, bring awareness to any tensions that you can feel in your body and you use the breathing exercises to ease them and achieve relaxation. It’s important that you only focus on your breathing and feeling of the specific part of your body that you’re currently focusing on. Oh and don’t rush through it, a good body scan takes a decent amount of time to perform.
  • Mindful Walking: It’s common knowledge that going on daily walks is great for both your physical and mental health. Especially the mental side, a half an hour walk can do so much good for your mental well-being. Enough about regular walks though since we need to get into mindful walking, which does even more good for you than plain old walking. So what’s different about mindful walking? It’s simply walking plus standard mindfulness. This means that you’ll have to pay attention to the 5 sense while on a walk, so you can become truly immersed in your surroundings. This also means no music.I know that going on a walk while listening to music is fun, but it’ll take you out of the moment which renders it as a total no-go.
  • Mindful Eating: I did tell you that mindfulness was versatile didn’t I? Mindful eating is actually a really useful technique of mindfulness where you specifically focus on 3 of the 5 senses and use them to bring your mind into the present. These 3 senses are taste, touch and smell and you probably guessed that the way you’ll be using them is through eating. I want you to focus in on the smell of your food before it enters your mouth, the taste of your food as you eat it, on how it feels when it’s inside your mouth (okay don’t make it weird), on the texture of the food as you hew it, you get the idea. Doing this will not only help you achieve a mindful state, but you’ll also enjoy your food way more by focusing in on it.
  • Mindful Training: For the final mindfulness technique, we have mindful training. Keep in mind that I’m specifically going to be talking about weight lifting here but out can adapt mindful training to fit other types of exercise. To execute it successfully, you have to focus on the feeling of lifting weights. Make sure you notice every little sensation, from how the grip of the bar or handle feels to the burning feeling in your muscles. Oh yeah and no music again, it’ll ruin the moment. Mindful training will help enhance your training and put you in a mindful state that is ready to achieve flow. Speaking of the two, imagine how cool it would be to achieve flow state while training. Now that would make for some serious gains.

And that about covers it, there are honestly so many ways to practice mindfulness it actually amazes me. There are in fact so many that I would be typing for days on end just going over them all. And I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that you can practice mindfulness in so many different places, I chose the examples above to prove that. Mindful reading, mindful writing, mindful driving and mindful stretching all come to mind when I think of some unique mindfulness techniques.

Enough about mindfulness though, it’s time we move to the final section of this guide.

Overcoming Flow Blockers

Throughout this guide, I have gone over quite a few things that could easily break your immersion and completely take you out of flow state. As you would expect, they’re known as flow blockers and they can easily destroy your concentration if you allow them to. The last part of that sentence is especially important, flow state blockers only affect you if you let them affect you. They aren’t like a natural disaster, you have total control over how much they affect you.

To show you this, let’s shift our attention to the previously mentioned topic of social media addiction. This addiction is by far one of the most notorious and dangerous flow blockers out there. The urge to pick up your phone and check your socials will destroy the momentum you need to enter flow state. It also halts your productivity, makes you waste more time and it even makes you struggle to pay attention to things in other areas of your life. Worst of all, it turns you into a slave. You’ll be a slave to your impulsive desires, giving into them without ever thinking twice. It feels like something you can’t control, but it isn’t. You can have complete control over the situation, all you have to do is fight for that control and resist. You control when you pick your phone up, you control what apps you open, and that means you can also control yourself and stop.

See what I mean now? Flow blockers may feel like these huge, uncontrollable threats but they’re really not. They’re manageable. With a little bit of effort as well as the right mindset and actions, you can keep them in check. So let’s check out some of these flow blockers and see what you can do to overcome them.

External Distractions

Let’s start off with one that we were just talking about, well kind of talking about. Your phone is indeed an external distraction that will break your focus, but there are many others that we have yet to go over.

When I say ‘external distractions‘, I’m referring to pretty much anything in your vicinity that could potentially attract your attention and break your focus. I mean it quite literally when I say ‘anything’ as well, it’s not just limited to your phone or (hopefully not) your vape. It could be a magazine that you have laying around, a pop-up on your computer or even random stuff that you tend to fidget with.

It could even be stuff that you originally thought wouldn’t pose a threat. Confused about that one? Let me paint a picture. Let’s say that you really want to play the PlayStation or Xbox or whatever, but you promised yourself that you would get your work done before you got on. This would mean that the chances of it breaking your focus would be almost slim to none right? Not exactly, let me show you what I mean. Now let’s say that your friends text you an ask you to hop on so you tell yourself “Whatever, I’ll do my work later,” and you then proceed to boot up your console. See what I mean now? You originally thought that it wouldn’t pose much of a threat to your focus, but it ended up completely shattering it. I bet that exact sequence of events has happened to a few of you (I know I’m personally guilty of this).

As I stated before, these distractions can easily wreck your attention span. To counter these distractions, solutions are needed. Here are some of the best and most effective ones that I know of:

DISCLAIMER: I will not be mentioning dopamine detox because I previously brought it up, but still keep in mind that it’s an effective solution. Okay disclaimer over.

  • Resisting the Urge: This is the most standard solutions available. Some people would probably say that this is the equivalent of telling a homeless man to buy a house. While at may seem like that at first, at second glance it’s actually that simple. If you want to stop constantly checking your phone, all you have to do is not pick it up and turn it on as much. The hard part in this whole thing lies in the mental side of this. It takes great mental strength to be able to resist the urge to grab your phone and scroll. This doesn’t mean you should give up and accept your life as an addict, In fact it’s quite the opposite. It means that you should prove yourself by showing that you can do it. Refuse to be chained down by your addiction.
  • Removing Distractions: If you’re struggling with resisting the urge to indulge in distractions, I have a suggestion for you. What you need to do is remove your phone as well as another potential distractions out of your room. Don’t just move them out of your reach and off to one side, move them out of the room completely so there’s no chance you’ll go and grab them. This’ll be a hassle for stuff like consoles so instead of moving the actual device, you could just unplug the cables and move them instead. If any of you are thinking “That doesn’t change anything, the urge is still there and I can still leave my room to grab my phone.”, then that’s kind of pathetic isn’t it? You shouldn’t let yourself give in that easily, you’re stronger than that.
  • Cleaning Your Room: Having a clean room may not seem like the type of thing to enhance flow state at first, but it actually produces some pretty great results from my personal experience. A messy and cluttered room will naturally provide you with more potential distractions, a clean room doesn’t do this. It’s also said that the state of one’s room reflects that state of one’s life, both physically and mentally. Someone with a messy room doesn’t really have their life in order, which makes them more susceptible to flow state blockers like distractions. A clean room represents an organized life, as well as a clear and focused state of mind (kind of like flow state huh?).

External distractions are annoying flow state blockers to deal with, however they’re very manageable. They’re primarily tied to addictive behavior and they can hold you back in many aspects of your life, that includes achieving flow state. However, external distractions aren’t the only type of distraction that you’ll face…

Internal Distractions

You’re probably wondering how it’s possible to get distracted internally. To show you what I mean by an ‘internal distraction‘, I’m gonna ask you a question. Have you ever put off doing work before? Have you ever told yourself that tomorrow is the day that you lock in and get it done but when ‘tomorrow’ arrives you don’t actually do anything productive and then you end up telling yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow? Okay I lied that was actually 2 questions. What I just described is most commonly referred to as procrastination and it’s an internal distraction.

You should have a better idea now of what an internal distraction is, but in case you’re still a bit confused I’ll quickly define it. An internal distraction is a self-imposed distraction created by the mind. It’s usually used as a way to get out of doing work that one does not feel like doing and it usually involves a large amount of mental gymnastics (shout out Urban Dictionary). Internal distractions usually take the form of excuses or the previously mentioned procrastination.

Every time you make an excuse as to why you’re not going to do work, you’re internally distracting yourself . You’re tying to get out of working hard and potentially achieving flow state without feeling bad. People who do this often try to reinforce their excuse with every chance they get. To show you what I mean, let’s create another hypothetical situation:

Let’s say that you have been assigned a group PowerPoint presentation to complete. You’re given 2 weeks to complete 10 slides between 3 people. So you get together with your group and you all assign yourselves slides and get to work. Since you’re reading this, you’re most likely a hard working stud so you get your slides done on the first day. Then, another person in your group finishes theirs a couple days days later. All that’s left is for the last person to do it. You wait a day, nothing… You wait 2 days, nada… You wait 3 days, still nothing. Then, the final day before deadline rolls around and you ask them if they’re done with their slides. They then respond and go into detail as to why they’re not done yet, saying that they were too busy and detailing exactly why they haven’t done them yet without you ever even asking.

What likely happened with that person is that they were procrastinating and making excuses in their mind to uphold that procrastination. However, they felt bad deep down so instead of doing the work they decided to reinforce their excuse. One of the ways they did this is by telling you their excuse without you ever asking. They felt a need to say at the first opportunity they could. It wasn’t to try and convince you though, it was mainly to convince themselves. You can use this to catch yourself in the act too. If you ever find yourself telling someone something without them asking, then call yourself out for it; you may be making excuses to yourself.

See how dangerous internal distractions can be? Achieving flow state will be a real challenge with constant mental excuses, so let’s see how you can address this issue:

  • Direct Confrontation: There’s really only one way to address internal distractions, and that is to directly confront them and call yourself out for being lazy. Sorry, there’s no real way to make it sound any different. That’s just what internal distractions are, self-justified laziness. It’s time you stop being lazy and it’s also time to stop justifying that laziness. That can only be done by calling yourself out for being lazy and not wanting to get anything done. It’s best if you catch yourself when you’re trying to make an excuse, so that it’s as direct as possible. After that, you get to work. No excuses. No lies. No laziness. Just discipline. I know it’s not easy to do this, it sucks to be confronted with feelings like this. But you can change, facing yourself and accepting your flaws is just the first step you need to take in order to do so. If you are internally distracting yourself yet you refuse to admit that you’re being lazy, then you’ll never change. The best choices are often the hardest to make.

Yeahhh… there’s kinda only one way to deal with internal distractions. Well, there may be more that I’m not aware of, but I would argue that a simple and straight up approach is the most effective way to deal with something like this. You’re also staying true to yourself ,which will ease your conscience and allow for easier entry into flow state. Because let’s face it, flow state is almost impossible to achieve with a guilty conscience.

Overthinking, Self-Doubt and The Fear of failure

As I literally just mentioned like 1 seconds ago and have done many other times throughout the guide, flow state is associated with a clear, calm and relaxed mind. In contrast, it’s only natural that a state of mind as hectic as overthinking is a flow state blocker. And what usually follows overthinking? Self-doubt. And where does self doubt stem from? The fear of failure. And what does that fear usually bring? Even more overthinking.

It’s quite the vicious cycle, one that can make your life very stressful. Stress is something that you definitely don’t need, you won’t be able to enjoy life as much and you definitely won’t be able to achieve flow state if you’re constantly stressed out. To help counter this, let’s have a look at some of the techniques that you can use to counter overthinking, self doubt, and the fear of failure:

  • Destroying the Inner Critic: If you’re a chronic over-thinker or self-doubter, then it’s likely that you struggle with your inner critic. The Inner critic is that voice in your head that is constantly beating you down and telling you that you can’t do it. He’s the guy that tells you not to do your work and waste time instead, he’s the guy who tells you that your dreams are too big, he’s the guy that wants to make you into a lesser version of yourself. With him beating you down, you’ll never enter flow state. He’ll probably tell you that flow state is pointless. You have to beat this guy. To do that, you’ll need to launch a counter attack. Every time he tries to put you down and call you worthless, you have to refuse to give in and tell him that he’s wrong. If you keep doing this without ever accepting what he says, then you will overcome this. If you’re interested in learning more about the inner critic and how to beat him, then I suggest you check out my self esteem guide (what you’re looking for is in the negative self-talk section).
  • A Change in Perspective: In order to overcome a fear, you need to change your outlook on the thing that you fear so much. This is no different when it comes to the fear of failure. Many people view failure is some kind of be all and end all event that must be avoided at all costs. This is probably the worst way to view failure because no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to avoid it. This isn’t a bad thing though, because failure is a great teacher and you can use the lessons it teaches you to grow stronger. Think about it with flow state as well, there’s no way you’ll get flow every single time you try to (especially at first). You’ll fail a lot in your journey to master flow state, but remember that every setback puts you one step closer to achieving your goal.


Whew, the flow state guide is finally done. Mastering flow state is honestly so important if you want to become more productive, so I hope this helped you to start out. This is also my longest guide yet and it’s the guide that has taken me the longest to make. I would’ve gotten this done sooner but you know how university projects get, I had quite a few of those to get through. The great thing about writing this guide while doing all those projects is that I got to test out all the flow state techniques that I was writing about for this guide so i can say with confidence that they do work. However, you’ll need to put in the effort to make them work.

Enough yapping though, it’s time for you to get out there and start mastering flow state. I wish you the best.


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