Take Advantage Of Flow While Fasting
While fasting during Ramadan is an opportunity to turn your thoughts and minds to higher levels, reaching this flow like state can be accelerated by carrying out simple, repetitive tasks that are not too taxing intellectually. Even better though, is if these tasks can be carried out as part of a positive and proactive move towards a positive outcome.
And as Ramadan 2023 falls across the spring equinox, then for millions of Muslims across the globe, taking advantage of this time to spring clean your house will help you cleanse and purify both your soul and your home. Spring cleaning is something that you can do gently, without using up too much energy as you are fasting. It can also be carried out by all members of our family, and involves activities which are rhythmic and repetitive, ensuring you can create a conscious flow that allows your thoughts to soar to a higher plane while you are carrying out the task.
What is ‘flow’
‘Flow’ is recognised by psychologists as complete immersion in an activity whereby your cognitive state can be described as meditative, or wholly focused in that moment, filtering out external distractions. There is a deep joy in flow that elevates the person above bodily feelings, emotions and sensations, whereby intellectual processing is replaced by a subconscious cognitive state.
Cleaning is a brilliant activity to reach this state of flow, particularly during Ramadan, to help to distract from the discomfort of fasting. Here is why:
Rhythm and repetition
The psychologist who first discovered ‘flow’ – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – highlighted how the end result was not the important factor, but the process itself. Cleaning a simple activity that does not require any real skill, but does involve a repetitive action that gets easier when carried out to a good rhythm.
The key is to enjoy what you are doing. By focusing on the immediate job in hand, and engaging with that flow, there is no external distraction – only a pride in the accomplishment of what you are doing.
The key is to not concentrate too much on the task – going in with the intention of trying to get into the state of flow will actually backfire on you. Instead, approaching it with levity allow you to reach the state so much more easily and quickly.
How will it help with fasting?
Engaging in simple, undemanding activities will distract you from the discomfort of not eating or drinking. So much of our days are built around routines and habits, and your morning coffee and biscuits, or sandwich lunch, make up a large part of that routine.
The first few days of Ramadan are the hardest, as you are dealing with the psychological habits as well as the physical ramifications, and getting into a flow with undemanding activities will help you to break away from unhelpful thoughts and distract you into more productive activities. This can be your Ramadan routine, which is less focused on food, and more focused on cleansing mind, body and house.
The state of ‘flow’ has also been shown to benefit you in other ways as well. The ability to better regulate your emotions is one of these benefits. Throughout life our emotions can be battered by life – whether through the experience of trauma, workplace stress or family pressures. The effect is often that we ae unable to control our emotions.
Getting into flow has been proven to help an individual to develop the skills to regulate their emotions, which not only helps them in achieving a more meditative state for Ramadan, but will also help them to build a more happy and successful life.