Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
In essence, Flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[
According to Csikszentmihalyi, Flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In Flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.
To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from Flow.
The hallmark of Flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task[ although Flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.
Flow has many of the same characteristics as (the positive aspects of) hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in such universally glowing terms.
Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be in the moment, present, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, or singularly focused.