How might we get “in the flow” for Thanksgiving 2020? Could there be anything more wonderful than floating in the flow of happiness? It sounds like a fantasy, but why not? And why not now? People talk about being “in the flow” all the time, a time when your labor feels spontaneous, effortless, fulfilling, and even, creative? That kind of joy is associated with a happy life and the kind we all want over the holidays.

What is Flow?

You can’t go far learning about happiness research without coming across the name, Csikszentmihalyi. Yes, it’s a mouthful to pronounce. You don’t have to. Just know that “Dr. C.” was one of the first to investigate the reasons for happiness, having survived a POW camp in WWII with his head on straight. He noted some adults came out okay and others didn’t after such an experience. He came up with the concept of “flow.” That is, when you are so in tune with what you are doing that you lose all sense of time or thought of anything else but your focus of work or effort and attention.  

Flow is a form of ecstasy and one that athletes strive for to maximize performance. Yet, the “Dr. C” was more interested in maximizing feelings of happiness. His aim was for you to be able to call happiness up whenever you want to. He believes that people can make themselves happy or miserable, regardless of what is happening, by finding a sweet spot between a challenging activity and the skill to master it.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Finding the sweet spot—that’s the trick, especially this Thanksgiving. First, accept the fact it’s going to be different this year. That’s okay. Make sure you identify a new challenge. Keep it simple. It could be a new recipe, figuring out how to use Zoom if you haven’t already, or writing a story about Thanksgivings past. Figure out what ingredients or resources you need to meet this challenge. Then, go for it! No one is looking. You’ll find or develop the skills you need as you try.

Reaching for the sweet spot, you’ll be able to experience this Thanksgiving as a success. Hopefully, it will be with a sense of serenity and quiet accomplishment along with a good meal. Wishing you Happy Memory-Making and a Happy Thanksgiving! To the flow!