What is Flow?
This is a question that many people ask when I’m working with them on getting into their groove with healthy eating and fitness. I always think this is an interesting question because often times they are already in their flow in certain areas of their life without even knowing it. The best thing about flow is that you don’t have to understand it in order to be using it. The second best thing about flow is that if you are using it in one area of your life, I can show you how to transfer it over into your health and fitness. First, lets talk about exactly what flow is. When you were little you were in your flow a lot. You breathed deeply from your belly, you were present and focused in the moment on whatever you were doing, you laughed
a lot and quickly let go of negative feelings. It wasn’t until you spent more and more time with other, usually older and “wiser,” people that you began to block your flow. As you grew up, you were taught to think your way through things and to worry about problems. You learned that things get done and success gets achieved through action. You must do specific measurable things in order to get results. True—results do come with action. However, when you’re not in your flow, you can act all day long and the results that you achieve will be infinitesimal compared to the results that you can achieve when you are in your flow.
Sports Genius and Traffic Miracles
Have you ever seen a post game interview when an athlete
did something crazy cool and the interviewer asks, “What were you thinking?” The athlete says, “I don’t know. I just remember doing ____.” Insert shooting the puck, swinging the bat, laying up for the 3 pointer. When an athlete is in what other people sometimes call “the zone,” or what I call “the flow,” they aren’t thinking. They’re just allowing their genius to flow through them. Because of their training, experience, and trust in themselves, they have enough confidence to let go of making it happen through thought and instead just allow the action to flow through them. So you might say, ok yeah I get it, but I’m not an athlete, so how does flow apply to me? Here’s an example that maybe you can relate to better. Think about a time when you are driving on the expressway and traffic is heavy, but still moving. You’re paying attention but you’re also fairly relaxed because you do this every day and it is just part of your routine. Then, something happens so fast that it’s over before you even realize it. The car in the lane next to you makes a sudden move into your lane and you swerve out of harms way into the next lane, sensing that there isn’t a car in that lane without even looking. How did that happen? You were in the flow.
It’s funny how these examples can make flow so easy to understand, yet it’s still tough to transfer that same sort of ability into areas of life like health and fitness. However it’s very possible, it’s just a matter of practice, focus, and a shift in your belief.
3 Steps for Getting into Your Health and Fitness Flow
1) Recognizing that force negates
First of all, at this stage of the game, I’m willing to bet you probably have a pretty good understanding of how to be healthy and fit. You know about eating primarily preservative-free, whole foods
and you understand the basics about working out. But beyond that, you’ve probably learned that in order to achieve a goal related to your body, you’ve got to be dedicated and driven to forcing your body to produce the results you’re looking to achieve. Here’s the thing. Flow doesn’t happen through force.
Flow happens when you trust yourself enough to loosen the reigns and go by feel rather than by force. It comes from a place of inspiration and excitement rather than fear. So the first step is letting go of force
. One of the biggest reasons why you might be having trouble getting into your health and fitness flow is because the idea of letting go freaks you the F out!
What do you mean, “let go”?? If I let go then I’ll get fat, blow it, not reach my goal, screw up, lose focus, and on and on…
When I say let go, I don’t mean to let go of your goal, I mean to let go of holding on so tightly to the achievement of that goal that you are suffocating it. You don’t have to strangle your health and fitness dreams in order for them to come true. Just like the athlete or when you’re in traffic, you have to let go and trust your body to do it’s thing without you micromanaging the process.
2) Quit rushing and forcing out of fear
The reason you feel the need to micromanage is because you’ve learned that controlling things will make them happen faster
. You want to make them happen faster because you think that once you get to that goal, you’ll be happier than you are now. Also, you think that the faster you can get to the goal, then the faster you can stop worrying about what if you never get there. Force, rushing, and fear of failure or “what if I don’t get there” thoughts block your flow and hold you apart from the power that comes from getting into alignment with the inspired action that comes with flow. You don’t need willpower or force when you have flow. People say that fear is the best motivator
, but I disagree. I think that inspiration, confidence, and self-love
and care are far more powerful. Today, make a conscious decision to stop trying to control and make things happen faster out of fear
and instead open yourself up to action that is inspired from totally different feelings like excitement, trust, and confidence.
3) Be present and breathe
Did you know that you can entirely reset your nervous system with just 5 deep breaths
? One of the easiest ways to get into the flow is to focus on your breath, which helps you to tune into the present moment. If your mind is thinking about all kinds of things that you have to do, if you are overwhelmed with your to-do list, or if you are multitasking 4 different things at once, you’re not in the flow. When you start to notice your mind running off in chaotic directions, and you feel anxiety sweeping over you, stop and refocus on your breath
. Take a deep breath and imagine breathing all of those chaotic thoughts and worries out of your mind as you exhale.
The Benefits of Aligning with Your Flow
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has the ability to tune into flow related to their health and physical body. And I realize that with today’s media coverage of health and the human body, it can seem like the odds are stacked against you. But you do have the power to tune into the flow with your body and by taking the time to focus on these 3 steps I’ve shown you above, you’ll see benefits that will be life changing. Which one of these steps stands out most for you?