[CQ-Contest] Secrets of Contesting ---- The Flow State
n6tj at sbcglobal.net
Mon Oct 17 14:10:21 EDT 2022
Secrets of Contesting and The Flow State:
From time-to-time, we've convinced ourselves that contesting adds to
our youth, and cognitive skills, and we simply could not excel at
contesting if we weren't "young". And that reasoning has sometimes
worked to convince our significant others that we really really do need
to fly to that far-off Indian Ocean island next week for CQ WW SSB:
"its guaranteed that high speed talking for 48 hours will lengthen the
period before dementia sets in" (an N6TJ quote).
Now, we can attest that there's some truth to these arguments. Simply
stated, when we are immersed in a radio contest, we most probably can be
in a Flow State. This state of mind often is referred to by athletes as
being "in the zone".
A recent article by Richard Huskey, PhD, Department of Communications
(!!!), University of California, Davis, reveals that he has spent the
last 10 years studying the flow state and the changes it creates in the
brain - how you can find it, and benefit from it. Being in a flow state
requires that you put forth effort and drive the outcome. Certainly our
contesting efforts would qualify.
Quoting Dr. Huskey: "One of the key attributes of the flow state, from
which it derives many of its psychological benefits, is that while
you're engaged in your activity, you're focused exclusively on it. The
flow state occurs only when you're doing something that you're highly
skilled at... and when you're doing it in a way that challenges that
high skill level. Despite exerting themselves considerably, people in
flow hardly notice their efforts. Time speeds up"
"Psychologists have learned a lot in recent years about what the brain
looks like when in the flow state. Scientists have found strong
evidence that when a person enters the flow state, activity decreases in
the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with
thinking about oneself. This evidence supports psychologists
description of flow as a state of externally focused attention."
"We also have uncovered evidence that, during flow, the brain
reconfigures itself so it requires less energy -- kind of a
"battery-saver mode". That may explain why flow activities feel
effortless and time flies while you are doing them".
Dr. Huskey reports that many benefits from being in flow have been
observed or self-reported:
" Higher Skill --- Spending time in the flow state appears to make
you better at the activity
Mood Boost --- Being in flow just feels good. If you're having a
crummy day, getting into flow for a spell can lift your spirits
Increased Resiliance --- People who regularly experience flow
appear better equipped to bounce back after disappointments
Greater Productivity --- Frequent flow experiences appear to
reduce procrastination, prevent burnout and increase motivation
Mental Health --- Flow is associated with lower risk for anxiety
General Happiness --- People who often go into flow report
greater life satisfaction"
Dr. Huskey adds : Find the sweet spot. Once you've decided on the
activity that will be your conduit to the flow state, make a concious
decision to push yourself to the next level so that you're at that sweet
spot between skill and challenge. If it's a game, seek out an opponent
who's just a little better than you"....
And he summarizes his writings with words that are surely music to every
contester's ears: "There's no such thing as spending too much time in
the flow state. Frequently experiencing flow could make you happier,
healthier, more productive and more skilled at your favorite tasks."
Jim Neiger N6TJ
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