How To Enter A Flow State Of Mind

Woman running while in a flow state of mind.


Did you know that you are easily capable of a state of mind where you can be incredibly productive and feel amazing? Flow is the state you enter when you’re absorbed in what you are doing; it’s a mental state of being totally in the present, where the mind is blissfully undistracted by the past and the future and where time means nothing.

It’s a frame of mind that many of us wish to find, where you can finally relax and enjoy a hobby, sport, or activity without feeling any of the usual stresses that so often intrude into what should be a moment of enjoyment. This is what is meant by a flow state of mind. Children seem to effortlessly find this state of mind, when they play or when they are absorbed in a beloved hobby, but as we age, adults seem to lose the ability to slip easily into this relaxed mode.

I recently took up playing guitar. I played quite a lot when I was younger but seemed to find less and less time for it as the responsibilities of adulthood took hold. I always intended to play again so I kept the guitar safely in its case, dusting it off once or twice a year but never really getting back into the habit of playing regularly.

Stress had been building, work had been taking precedence over most things and I knew it was time to throw myself into a hobby that would help me unwind. So I got the guitar out, put some new strings on it, and made a commitment to playing again. I remembered fondly playing for hours when I was young, working on new tunes, and practicing old ones to perfection, and I looked forward to that feeling of complete absorption.

But here’s the thing, I found that I just couldn’t access that elusive state of flow. I’d sit down and start playing and something else would pop into my head; a chore I hadn’t completed, a light I’d left on or a window that needed opening or closing, a conversation I’d had earlier in the day, work or chores that I hadn’t finished. My mind would wander constantly and I found it almost impossible to do what I had intended, to play and be in a little world of complete relaxation. So what had changed?

I believe the answer is that I had changed. Not in my core, not the person I truly am, but my habits had changed hugely compared to when I was younger. I’m not talking about my physical habits so much as my mental ones. I had simply not been in the habit of accessing a focused state of mind. It is, after all, a habit like anything else and when we become stressed over time, our minds can adopt the habit of finding things to worry about. 

The solution was very simple: keep trying. And that’s exactly what I did. Slowly but surely I found that I would get more absorbed into the actual action of playing, of reading the music, of finding the right touch and the right dynamics for the piece I was playing, and, above all, simply enjoying music again.

The more time I spent, the more I found I could quickly access flow and be in the present with the music I was playing. And the feeling was incredible, a wave of deeply satisfying relaxation that I remembered from my youth. The weight on my shoulders of all the small and mostly unimportant stuff with which I had been preoccupied began to melt away and I floated off on a wonderful cloud of peace and relaxation.

Flow often happens purely by accident but that doesn’t mean that you can’t intentionally move into that state of mind by using tried and tested methods. Remember to turn off your phone, remove all distractions as far as possible, and be patient with yourself. These methods will work over time if you practice and use them regularly:

9 Tips For Entering A Flow State Of Mind

1. Do something you love (or think you will love)

If you’re already passionate about activities like painting, singing, knitting, pottery, or a particular sport, these can serve as excellent starting points for entering a flow state. Arts and crafts, as well as other hobbies, are not only enjoyable but can also be a source of relaxation and a means to achieve flow.

If you don’t have a go-to hobby that helps you unwind, it might be a good idea to explore and try new things. Many hobbies can be taken up without much expense or difficulty, and you may discover that they offer you a sense of calm and a doorway into the flow state.

Experimenting with different activities can help you find something that not only captures your interest but also brings a sense of peace and fulfillment, making it easier to tap into that focused state of mind where time seems to fly by.

2. Meditation

Many people use meditation as the ultimate way to find a flow state, plus the benefits of meditation are numerous. It can be a deeply relaxing and rewarding habit to adopt and, as a keen meditator myself, I recommend it. Like with my experience with the guitar, it does take patience, but setting small goals and working up from shorter to longer sessions will bear fruit, bringing you into a blissful state of flow over time.

Guided meditations can be a great way to start and may even become your go-to method as you gain experience, as many of them bring a wealth of experience and information from experienced meditators along with each session. Finding a quiet place with few distractions will help at the beginning, although some people report that they can slip into flow even in a crowded and noisy situation if they have become accustomed to it and find the session engrossing enough.

3. Sport

People often find that engaging in sports like running, hiking, and cycling is a fantastic and straightforward way to achieve a state of flow. This happens when the activity strikes the right balance between being engaging enough to occupy the mind fully, yet not so demanding as to induce stress.

Paying close attention to your posture and technique can significantly enhance the experience, turning an ordinary sports session into an immensely satisfying and immersive one. This focused attention helps in maintaining a delicate balance, ensuring that the activity remains enjoyable and mentally absorbing.

This approach not only improves physical health but also contributes to mental well-being, making each session more than just exercise—it becomes a deeply fulfilling experience.

4. Work

This doesn’t happen for everyone and it doesn’t necessarily occur in every activity, but some work can induce a flow state. It depends on the activity itself but also how you do it and how you apply your mind. It needs to be challenging enough to engross your mind fully, not too challenging to stress you, and interesting enough so you don’t get bored.

This is different for everyone of course. I’ve found that ‘boring’ or repetitive jobs in the garden, such things as mowing the lawn or pulling up weeds, can either be incredibly relaxing, bringing me into a flow state, or very stressful, causing me to be in a worse mood than before I started.

The difference for me is if I allow my mind to wander or if I focus my attention. If I let the repetitive work release my mind to dwell on discontented thoughts then I don’t reach flow or any kind of peace. If I concentrate firmly but in a relaxed way on what I’m doing, using mindfulness techniques to focus, then I can very quickly drop into a relaxed flow state. When this happens, the time flies, the work gets done and I feel brilliant both during and after. Finding a way to do your work, whatever that may be, in a more mindful way could make all the difference between a stressful chore and a peaceful, fulfilling session of relaxation.

5. Find your BPT (Biological Peak Time)

Flow may be difficult to achieve when you are tired or sleepy. Although it should be done in a relaxed way with a ‘light touch’, it still requires energy, focus, and concentration. So, at least to start with, try your activities and techniques at a time of day when your mind feels fresh, during your biological peak time or BPT.

This can be different for everyone; many people find first thing in the morning is a good time but perhaps you’re someone who has energy and focus later in the day. Experiment, and don’t give up if it doesn’t always work. Try a different time of day or take a rest and come back later. You’ll soon find what works for you.

6. Background music, noise, or pure silence

This is something else to experiment with. I find background music helps me into a flow state but only if it’s songs that I know well or music that is purely instrumental – new songs that I’m not familiar with are too distracting. If I choose the right music, it can quickly relax me, help me focus, and improve my concentration.

Some people prefer silence (which may be difficult to find but ear plugs or defenders can help, if safe and appropriate) or certain sounds such as white noise, the sea, the whir of a fan, the tinkling of windchimes or other things such as Tibetan singing bowls. Try out some different music and sounds at different volumes and see how you get on. Noise-cancelling headphones can also be helpful in some circumstances.

7. Eat at the right time

Being hungry or malnourished will not help your concentration so make sure you are eating regular healthy meals. If you’re about to start a session where you aim to achieve a state of flow, having a small, nutritious snack can be beneficial. I’ve noticed that the distraction caused by a rumbling stomach, or the discomfort of being too full, can hinder the process of getting into flow.

Interestingly, once I’m fully immersed in this state, I often find that I lose track of time and might even skip meals without realizing it. This demonstrates the importance of preparing your body with proper nourishment beforehand, allowing you to engage deeply in your activity without unwanted interruptions.

8. Stay hydrated

Just as it’s important to nourish your body with food, staying hydrated is equally crucial for entering a state of flow. The brain’s composition is mostly water, and even slight dehydration can negatively impact our ability to think clearly and concentrate. Many people do not drink enough fluids throughout the day, making the act of drinking a glass of water not only beneficial but often necessary for maintaining mental sharpness.

Regularly consuming water or other hydrating beverages can significantly aid in focusing and sustaining attention, thus facilitating a smoother transition into the flow state. Keeping a bottle of water nearby during activities can serve as a simple yet effective reminder to stay hydrated, helping ensure that your cognitive faculties are functioning optimally.

9. Caffeine

The consumption of caffeine is contentious and some people should avoid it for health reasons. On the other hand, a small amount of caffeine from coffee or tea has been shown to boost productivity and focus and, if used judiciously, can help attain a state of sustained concentration. I tend to avoid caffeine completely and then have one cup maybe once or twice a week when I need an extra boost of energy. A cup of tea or coffee just before I do an activity for which I want to attain a flow state has been helpful on occasion. It’s entirely up to you, but bear in mind that this might be helpful from time to time.

Final thoughts

Once you are in a flow state, you can stay there for as long as you hold your relaxed concentration. Be sure to look after your eyes and body by taking breaks from close-up work, stretching, and getting exercise if your activity is seated. 

I hope these nine tips and my own experience will help you find your relaxed flow state. If it doesn’t happen quickly or easily for you then please don’t give up. Try the tips with the adjustments suggested and be sure to practice regularly for a few weeks. I’m sure you can succeed with just a little time and patience!

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Seff Bray

Seff Bray is an accomplished author and the passionate founder of, a website renowned for its uplifting and inspiring content. With a lifelong interest in personal development and growth, Seff has dedicated himself to empowering others through his writing.