In positive psychology, Flow, also known as the zone, 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, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.
Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields (and has an especially big recognition in occupational therapy), though the concept has existed for thousands of years under other guises, notably in some Eastern religions. Achieving flow is often colloquially referred to as being in the zone.
Flow shares many characteristics with hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in a positive light. Some examples include spending "too much" time playing video games or getting side-tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of the overall assignment. In some cases, hyperfocus can "capture" a person, perhaps causing them to appear unfocused or to start several projects, but complete few.
Flow is so named because during Csíkszentmihályi's 1975 interviews several people described their "flow" experiences using the metaphor of a water current carrying them along.
Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following factors as encompassing an experience of flow:
- Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
- Merging of action and awareness
- A loss of reflective self-consciousness
- A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
- A distortion of temporal experience, one's subjective experience of time is altered
Absolute space and time is a concept in physics and philosophy about the properties of the universe. In physics, absolute space and time may be a preferred frame. Before Newton - A version of the concept of absolute space (in the sense of a preferred frame) can be seen in Aristotelian physics.Robert S. Westman writes that a "whiff" of absolute space can be observed in Copernicus De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, where he exploits the concept of immobile sphere of stars.
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