Flow is that optimal state of consciousness when we feel and perform at our best. Time slows down, you forget yourself, and you perform at a higher level than ever before. In other words, you know those times when you are kicking ass and nothing can stop you? That’s flow.
Flow is cyclical. Before you enter flow, you must experience a struggle. This is the learning phase, when your brain shows beta waves – you are awake and concentrated. Next, you must release completely. This is when your subconscious can do its magic and consolidate the information and relax. These are the alpha waves – awake but relaxed. Then there is flow – theta waves, when you have access to unconscious mind. Finally, you enter a recovery phase – delta waves, a deep dreamless sleep, restorative.
If you are struggling to complete a task, try pushing yourself a bit longer. Then stop and do something completely different, make yourself uncomfortable (e.g.: take a cold shower, contemplate your death, do some pushups, pray out-loud). That release is a critical step to entering flow. Work hard on something, then break and disconnect completely. When you return later, you’re more likely to experience flow.