The FLOW State
How does it feel to be in "the flow"?
- Completely involved, focused, concentrating - with this either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training
- Sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality
- Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well it is going
- Knowing the activity is doable - that the skills are adequate, and neither anxious or bored
- Sense of serenity - no worries about self, feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of ego - afterwards feeling of transcending ego in ways not thought possible
- Timeliness - thoroughly focused on present, don't notice time passing
- Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces "flow" becomes its own reward
Video Games Improve Attention
When we want to engage, believe me, we can. And not only will we then make fewer mistakes of perception, but we will become the types of focused, observant people that we may have thought we were incapable of becoming. Even children who have been diagnosed with ADHD can find themselves able to focus on certain things that grab them, that activate and engage their minds. Like video games. Time after time, video games have proven able to bring out the attentional resources in people that they never suspected they had. And what’s more, the kind of sustained attention and newfound appreciation of detail that emerges from the process of engagement can then transfer to other domains, beyond the screen. Cognitive neuroscientists Daphné Bavelier and C. Shawn Green, for instance, have found repeatedly that socalled “action” video games—games characterized by high speed, high perceptual and motor load, upredictability, and the need for peripheral processing—enhance visual attention, low-level vision, processing speed, attentional, cognitive, and social control, and a number of other faculties across domains as varied as the piloting of unmanned drones and laparoscopic surgery. The brain can actually change and learn to sustain attention in a more prolonged fashion—and all because of moments of engagement in something that actually mattered.
And that attentional improvement rolls over into other areas of life.