Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness

Cambridge University Press (1988)
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Abstract

What constitutes enjoyment of life? Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness offers a comprehensive survey of theoretical and empirical investigations of the "flow" experience, a desirable or optimal state of consciousness that enhances a person's psychic state. "Flow" can be said to occur when people are able to meet the challenges of their environment with appropriate skills, and accordingly feel a sense of well-being, a sense of mastery, and a heightened sense of self-esteem. The authors show the diverse contexts and circumstances in which flow is reported in different cultures (e.g. Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy), and describe its positive emotional impacts. They reflect on the concept of flow vis-à-vis modern social structures, historical phenomena, and evolutionary biocultural selection. The ways in which the ability to experience flow affects work satisfaction, academic success, and the overall quality of life are suggested; and the childrearing practices that result in the ability to derive enjoyment from life, considered.

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