I have mentioned the flow state and how the science has investigated this further. Specifically, studies have found that people in the “flow state” release a number of different neurotransmitters and hormones. These include:
- Norepinephrine & Dopamine: Tightens focus and keeps us in the NOW. Speeds up muscle reaction time, improves pattern recognition.
- Anandamide: pain reliever, improves lateral thinking, ads in solving problems through an indirect creative approach.
- Endorphin: trigger positive feelings, “euphoric” feeling.
- Serotonin: balances mood, transmitting impulses between nerve cells.
Knowing about these transmitters may or may not directly help you. But what is clear, is that they are very important in accessing altered states, including what is commonly called flow.
Let me tell you a story…
One of my most famous feats of strength is pulling an 8,800 lb. antique fire truck by my hair.
What you may not know, is that I almost FAILED.
On the day of the event I got setup, I got hooked up to the truck and I pulled. And I pulled…and I pulled… yet the truck would not budge.
The event promoter went on to the next scheduled event, a speaker, while I regrouped.
One possibility was that the truck was in a small dip, and had settled overnight. It took a number of guys, all much larger than myself, just to move the truck about a foot in distance.
As I waited for the next, and what would be final attempt, one way or the other, I entered into a state. I had flown out to Ohio just for this. I HAD to make it happen.
You can bet those neurotransmitters were flowing. Norepinephrine and dopamine got me completely present; there was nothing, but now. Anandamide and endorphins to stop and overcome the pain.
When the time came, I pulled once again, and this time the truck moved.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The flow state is an important one, not just for strength or sports, but for all manner of skills.
Depending on what you’re doing, it will slightly shift in how you access and use it.
Just in writing this message to you, I’ve entered into a type of flow state where the words come forth like a rushing river. My fingers can barely keep up with the stream of thought. So learning how to better tap into your flow is an important skill of the 21st century. And yes, it is a skill! As such that means it can be increased through practice.
I think you’ll have lots of fun with it.