The Balance Code

How to Find Your Flow State

January 24, 2024 Katie Rössler Season 2 Episode 12
The Balance Code
How to Find Your Flow State
Show Notes Transcript

If you've ever wanted to know how to get your brain to relax and be productive at the same time, you're not alone. The illusive "flow state" has everyone wondering: what is it? 

This is a very interesting question, and we explore it in today's episode of the Balance Code Podcast. 

If you want to keep your mind healthy and your productivity levels high, you need to find your flow state. So today’s episode is all about discovering the key to entering your flow state and embracing a life that is more harmonious.

As your host of The Balance Code Podcast, my name is Katie Rössler, and I invite you to dive into the exploration of discovering what true life balance looks like. Feel free to comment and rate today's episode if you found it meaningful. Let’s dive in!

What we talked about:

  • Defining the concept of the flow state and its significance in achieving a harmonious mental state.
  • Exploring key takeaways from Johann Hari's book "Stolen Focus".
  • My personal flow state experience - solving puzzles.
  • Insights on how to identify your personal flow state. 
  • Integrating a flow state into your daily routine.


Johann Hari’s “Stolen Focus” book

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Get a free Uncover Your Blocks Strategy Session with Katie

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Check out the podcast website

 0:10 How do we start getting in our flow state to help our brains start to take a break? And what is the flow state even about? That's what we're gonna be discussing in today's episode. 

0:21 Welcome to the balanced code podcast, a place where you have permission to step outside the hamster wheel day to day life and learn tools to create more balance. My name is Katie Rössler. I'm a licensed therapist and burnout and hidden grief specialist. I support ambitious, goal driven people who are ready to get off a one way train to burnout start to enjoy life to the fullest. Oh, and by the way, I'm an American living in Germany, who's still learning the language, mom of three and an entrepreneur. Living my balance code is what keeps me able to work in incredible ways without burning out. 

0:56 Welcome back to the podcast. Okay. I have been reading this incredible book and some of you may already be reading it if you're on my newsletter. You know, I've been talking about it but it's Johann Hari stolen focus. I am loving the discussions he's having in this book. And I call him discussions because I'm having a discussion in my mind with him as he's writing. 

1:18 Every chapter just helps you break apart different ways. Scientifically, our brains are struggling with focus. And it's a pretty big book as you if you're watching, you see, there's a lot of things, a lot of things that are stealing our focus, and creating a dynamic of us meetings, sort of like the instant gratification and the Go, go go. But there's a particular chapter that I was really drawn to because it reminded me of an activity that I love doing. So in my family growing up, we always did puzzles. I love doing puzzles, like I literally get puzzles at Christmas time like usually two or three of them. 1000 piece or more puzzles. I love them and since I can remember I would go home to my grandmother's house for Christmas and do a puzzle on her big circle wooden coffee table. And it was one of those like lower to the ground coffee tables. Everybody got on their knees or on a little stool. We've all worked together. This is like an activity where I turn my mind off and I just and I lose track of time. I'm just in the flow. So this past weekend, I was working on 1000 piece puzzle with my girls. We have this big puzzle mat that we lay on the floor and we can roll it up when it's time to get it out of the way. So we were laying all the pieces out that we wanted to start working with and it was just this gorgeous puzzle of this like African safari kind of Sunset look right so gorgeous. And we're gone about it and then I look up at the time and I'm like it's past dinner time. 

3:05 hasn't even started making dinner. I totally lost track of time and that's one of the things I love about puzzles is because I get in the flow and I completely lose track of time. I'm not thinking about anything heavy. I'm not over analyzing or hyper focusing on anything. And now because my oldest are seven and nine we get to do this activity together. Now my three year old likes to involve herself in it but she's more of the like, give me a piece show me where it goes and then give me praise that I did that thing. You know, we all have those people in our lives. They're not always three years old. And so that's that's how she's a part of it. That does break my focus if I'm honest, but I love for her to be a part of it because eventually she'll be of age where we'll start to do bigger puzzles because I'll have four of us doing it. Epic right like whoa, anyways, my heart singing a little bit with that that I do. 

3:59 So, I just got in the flow. And there is something in the book and that particular chapter where he talks about the flow state and the flow state is when we do an activity, just one that we're so focused on. And it has just the right amount of challenge that keeps our focus, right. We're not like oh, this is boring or this is too easy. It has the level of challenge where we don't have to critically heavily think about what we're doing that we just get in the flow. Now for some of you that might be even just like reading a novel, right? Like you start reading in the morning and then all of a sudden you look up and you're like oh my gosh, the sun's going down, right? Or maybe you paint. Maybe you go climbing maybe you go for runs. You know there's all sorts of different low state activities. But the key is finding out what your flow state activity is. Why? Well, as I mentioned, my brain gets to turn off when I do the puzzle. I'm not thinking about a bazillion other things sometimes I will start to think about something but my brain doesn't attach to what I'm thinking about. Because when we're in a flow state, our brains can relax. And when our brains are relaxed, they're integrating. So when people talk about rest is productive and flow state is productive. It is because our brains are finally integrating all of the information that we're putting into it. I just want you to think about in one day, how much reading and listening and watching you do, how many decisions you have to make. How many decisions do you make before 10am? Right like it's just endless. And all of that takes a lot of brain power. But if we don't create positives in our day, create moments of turning off in that sense, and I don't mean Doom scrolling on our phone or binge watching a YouTube series or something, right. Like, I really mean doing something like this one activity where you're in it. Some people love to do like coloring projects, right? Like I used to have a lot of my clients even adult clients color in sessions so that they their brains would turn off because when you're coloring you know how to color right you're just coloring and especially if you're just doing it for you and you don't know not worried somebody's gonna see it. You're just coloring. Your brain can turn off be like hypercritical, super analyze the side. I need to throw up my walls and then you can just like ah, and then start to really think or talk about something without any more blocks. So this activity that you can find that maybe you already know what it is that puts you in the flow state. It's just hard to do that activity or make time for it. When you do that. It's so good for your brain. It's like doing a whole bunch of sports and then finally later on going like oh my gosh, I'm so tense. Let me get a deep tissue massage and like, relax this owl right? It's giving your brain that kind of massage without a massage. Okay, now just integrate everything you've learned and the way that makes sense brain. I don't want to think about it anymore. I will do puzzles and I will I will think about different scenarios of funny life events or memories. And it's not me actively going, you know, point A to point B to point C, they just come and then I'm like, interesting and move on to the next puzzle piece. Right? I don't stay stuck on anything. When people try to talk to me when I'm doing puzzles and my children do this too. I'm not the most responsive I'm kind of like kind of in that flow state. I'm like my brain is turned off and now you want me to bring my brain back into the picture and it's like I'm on vacation. I'm enjoying this leave me alone. So I will send him go Hold on a second and then look at them. Like take a deep breath and go okay, what did you ask again? 

8:07 Just so in the blow our brain, the brakes. And for some of us closing your eyes and taking that 20 or 30 minute pause during the day or even taking five minutes to close your eyes and just focus on breathing feels like kind of feels boring. I don't really want to do that or like you know, again, resting No, I don't have time. But if you can incorporate an activity that you can do that helps you feel like you're quote achieving you're doing something but allows you to turn off your brain it's a win win. When I do puzzles I get to see the progress. So I feel like I'm achieving and this is one of my hacks. Okay, when in other areas of my life I don't feel like I'm achieving. I will do a puzzle because I know I can do that I know I can achieve in that area and there was one Christmas where my husband's family gave me this puzzle that's all green. It was like this mossy, swampy Lake. Everything was green. The trees were green in it. There were a few white rocks, but everything was different shades of green, and I realized I don't like super super challenging, hard to do puzzles because it knocks me out of my flow state. I like you know 1000 2000 piece puzzles that have a clear like a clear direction to what I'm doing right beautiful landscape. Interesting. You know, pictures of things. I don't need it to all be green. So I need it to be something where I can get in that flow state and if it takes me out of that flow state if it's too challenging and frustrating and upsetting. Nope, it's no fun anymore, right? Like I really need that flow state. And it is something I do every holiday like every Christmas time like I'm usually one or two puzzles are done by the end of the break, because it's my time to turn off. Now I'm incorporating this time. In my week. I am rolling out the puzzle mat. I'm doing it during my lunch or whatever to just feel that sense of accomplishment and achievement and also give myself a break. Right to finally turn my brain off. I used to have the same experience when I would go running but it's like minus six degrees outside is the high right now. Celsius. No. So I don't do that every now but there are many different activities I find that put me in this flow state. This is the one I know right now in this season of my life I can do. Thank goodness the kids are old enough I can start doing this and not get torn apart and puzzle pieces under the couch or things like that. What is your flow state activity? What is that thing that you lose track of time when you do is it reading? Is it creating something? Is it building something? You know, it doesn't have to be puzzles. There's so many different activities. You know, I know people who love to Boulder and when they're bouldering like they're just in the zone, they don't have to think it's natural. They've been doing it for so long. Now if you're listening to this and you're like, I don't know what my flow state and maybe when I was in my teens or early 20s I would have done this and then that was my flow state. Go back to that activity. Try it again. Try to find space or time to do that thing and see if it helps create for you that state of flow. We all have things that help create the state. We have to figure out what they are. And once you figure out what your flow state activity is, then you can start to schedule it plan it incorporate it into your life. It might be that you leave work and you go bouldering right or you make sure you get that run and or and like in my situation I roll out the puzzle mat at lunchtime I eat my lunch and I do I set a timer so I'm not like oh my god would have gone by so bad to set a timer for how much time I have to just turn off. And I do that or at the end of the day. You know rolling up a puzzle mat or reading the book or whatever it is, but schedule it and understand that this is a healthy activity for your brain. Sometimes we feel like we need permission for some of these things we enjoy that don't really like feel like they're moving the needle forward. They are because they give our brain a break. And then we can integrate what we learn. You cannot become the master of any activity. Just by constantly doing doing doing doing doing there is a point where you have to stop and think and then relax and allow it to become muscle memory. And as soon as it becomes muscle memory. You're there that flow state can happen. So what is your flow state activity? And if you don't have time yet, what are things that you use to help you just, you know, be in a sense of a state of bliss? To relax and enjoy, but also give you enough of a focus where your brain is like Oh, fun. I can turn off but I know how to do this. I want to hear what it is. So find me on social media or send me an email at info at Katy Ross Tell me what your flow state activity is. I am collecting a database of activities. I want to hear what my community and my listeners are using as their flow state activity. So I can help others who are like, I'm stuck. I don't know. I want to find it because I need something like this and need some suggestions. So make sure to tag me on social media or send me a DM send me an email and let me know what your flow state activity is. And how you're incorporating it into your week. Okay, I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you did, please make sure to leave a rating and review share it with somebody who needs to hear about the flow state as well. And here's to finding our balance code