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The Path to Finding Your Flow

Embarking on a journey toward mental wellness involves more than just ticking off boxes—it's about finding your flow. In this exploration, we'll look at the implications of mental health and the concept of flow, drawing insights from Chinese medicine and biochemical pathways to guide us along the way.

Flow - Beyond Function and Glow:

Understanding what flow isn’t, can help us focus in on the joy that flow is. Function—the day to day tasks of being an adult, including everything from feeding yourself to doing your taxes—is not you finding your flow. This is merely doing things that are important or needed. The idea of glow refers to your sense of spiritual awareness, including the amount of love you have to give and the presence you emit around other humans. That being said, flow is not going through the motions or radiating a glowing aura; it's a state of optimal engagement and immersion in an activity. Herbalist and functional medicine practitioner Oscar Sierra says that when you know what flow isn't

“It takes some pressure off…you don’t have to be perfectly functioning…to have flow.”

When you do find your flow, time will seem to fly by, and you will experience a sense of effortless focus and enjoyment. This state of flow goes beyond simple functionality or outward appearances. It taps into a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose.  On a recent MOJO Rising podcast episode Sierra, shared that flow is,

“That thing that happens when you’re having fun…you lose track of time and things are flowing.”

He and MOJO Rising host, Julie Stevens, agree that you have to be fully present in the moment and not worry about what other people are thinking, and only then will you find your flow state.  

Exploring Flow Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine:

In Chinese medicine, the concept of flow extends beyond the physical to encompass the alignment of intention and action, similar to a river steadily moving towards its destination. Just as the Chinese believe that the Liver controls a smooth flow of energy, our plans and aspirations require a clear path forward and a sense of purpose. When our intentions are in harmony with our actions, we experience a state of flow, which propels us towards our goals with clarity and determination. However, when there are blockages in our plans or vision for the future, we may encounter obstacles that disrupt our journey. By cultivating a mindset of intentional flow and ensuring our plans are aligned with our deepest aspirations, we can navigate life's currents with greater ease and fulfillment.

Biochemical Flow: 

Maintaining a steady rhythm in our daily routines, including consistent sleep and wake times, plays a crucial role in supporting biochemical flow. When we stick to regular sleep patterns, our bodies synchronize hormonal release and neurotransmitter activity, optimizing mood, cognition, and overall well-being. Activities that induce flow, such as engaging in creative endeavors or physical exercise, further enhance this biochemical harmony by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals promote feelings of pleasure and reward, fostering a state of mental clarity and focus. By prioritizing lifestyle practices that nurture biochemical flow, we can cultivate resilience and enhance our capacity for sustained engagement, productivity and joy.

Practical Tips for Finding Your Flow:

  • Identify Your Flow Activities: Pay attention to activities that bring you a sense of joy, challenge, and immersion. Whether it's painting, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, find what resonates with you and carve out time for these flow-inducing pursuits. What is it that you do purely to have fun?

  • Create Optimal Conditions: Set the stage for flow by minimizing distractions, creating a conducive environment, and establishing a sense of focused attention. Clear your workspace, silence notifications, and create a ritual or routine to signal the start of your flow practice. What kind of environment do you need in order to relax and have fun?

  • Embrace the Process: Let go of perfectionism and embrace the process of flow. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment, surrendering to the natural rhythm of your chosen activity. Trust in your abilities and allow creativity and intuition to guide you. Be flexible and reject any internal excuses not to flow.

  • Practice Mindfulness: Cultivate mindfulness in your daily life to enhance your capacity for flow. Engage in mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or body scan practices to quiet the mind, reduce stress, and cultivate inner awareness. Being mindful helps your body to remember to enjoy your state of flow.

Finding your flow is a journey of self-discovery and alignment; a journey that invites us to tap into our innate creativity, passion, and vitality. By embracing the principles of flow across different realms—whether in Chinese medicine, biochemical pathways, or daily life practices—we can unlock our full potential and navigate the path to mental wellness with grace and ease. As we honor the natural flow of energy within ourselves and the world around us, we embark on a transformative journey toward greater harmony, fulfillment, and joy.

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