Prior to learning how to undress my stress, it was rare for me to have that feeling of flow. There was no room for that wonderful experience to take hold, mainly because I spent most of my time and energy worrying. My mind was busy thinkingworryingthinkingworryingthinking. All that worrying is stress - a cascade of fourteen-hundred chemicals that impacted me, mentally, physically and emotionally, and not in a good way.
Have I completely turned my back on the treadmill of worry? No, my worry habits are still visible, like some fantasy underwater city, where you can make out the watery shapes and forms and if you look closely, the remnants of ideas, thoughts and experiences.
In Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says:
"I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow - the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it."
I may have been involved in an activity, at great cost to myself, but it certainly wasn't enjoyable. Oh, I accomplished things, but rarely did I enjoy that special feeling that is generated when you are in the zone or the flow. By regularly undressing my stress, I am aware that I am approaching the treadmill of worry and am able to either get off of it sooner than in the past, or walk on by and not even partake in a worry session.
I've learned that worrying about my health does not encourage better health. Of course I am concerned about it, and I do live as well as healthfully as I can, which includes practicing heart-based stress techniques and allows me to flow into the zone on a more frequent and regular basis.
Here are some questions for you:
- What does being in the flow or in the zone feel like to you?
- Are you aware of how much worrying you actually do?
- When you do catch yourself worrying, are you able to replace it with a more pleasant activity? One that doesn't trigger the stress response?
- Do you need more skills and practice in doing this?