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Does Your Workout Pass the Flow Test?

Find out if you are truly enjoying your workout with this easy evaluation.

What do the Dalai Lama, Eminem, and Happy Gilmore all have in common? They’ve preached the power of “flow,” or “the state people get into when they’re so engaged in what they’re doing they forget themselves, time, and everyday problems,” says famed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 

“People can experience flow doing almost anything, from playing music to working on an assembly line,” says Csikszentmihalyi. “Physical activities are prime examples. You can exercise and hate it or get into it and enter the flow.” 

And that’s where results come from. 

Are you finding flow in your own workout? Ask yourself the following questions: 

1. Was what I was doing worth the time and effort it took? 

2. Did I think about issues unrelated to what I was doing while I was doing it? 

3. Did it give me a sense of accomplishment? 

4. Would I do it again if I didn’t have to and got nothing from doing it? 

5. Did time seem to pass much faster than usual? 

6. Did I feel more energized and in control of my life than I usually do? 

If you said “no” to the second question and “yes” to the others, your workout is likely “flow”-ing, says Csikszentmihalyi. If not, find a new one—one you truly enjoy. You’ll feel stronger, healthier— and more fulfilled. 

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