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The eight ingredients of flow

1. The experience occurs usually when we are involved in tasks that we have a good chance of completing.

2. We are able to concentrate fully on the activity.

3. The task has clear goals.

4. The task is such that it gives us immediate feedback on how well we are doing.

5. Our involvement is 'deep but effortless' and this 'removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life'.

6. There is a sense of exercising a sense of control over our actions.

7. 'Concern for the self disappears' but paradoxically our 'sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over'.

8. We lose our normal sense of time - we can feel either that is has speeded up (and passed quickly) or slowed down.
Many young people, particularly those who are switched off from academic activities, often only experience flow in leisure pursuits such as computer games. These games provide the ideal circumstances for flow in that they are usually challenging, but manageable with effort, under the individual user’s control and give immediate feedback on performance. No wonder so many young people spend hours on the computer.
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