Science of Happiness: Flow

Science of Happiness: Flow
Science of Happiness: Flow
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Forget everything you know about work-life balance and discover a more attainable approach : FLOW.

Hi everyone! I’m Kim Strobel. I’m a former teacher/ education consultant, and now I’m a motivational speaker. I speak a lot about the Science of Happiness, but I want to make sure that you understand that I’m not talking about toxic positivity because I can’t stand toxic positivity. 

Toxic positivity is when we are not allowed to honor the hard of our life or this profession. This profession is extremely difficult. It is extremely heavy. Most of us who serve in this feel like we’re on this hamster wheel of life and we don’t know how to get off of it but we want to get off of it. 

So I always say this is one of the most noble, sacred professions out there and we serve in this because we believe in kids. But that being said we cannot keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them because we are losing the other parts of our life that are really important. So we have to be able to talk about the hard and then make sure that we have a set of skills, a set of happiness habits, that move us through the hard, out of the gutter, quicker. 

So, when we’re talking about the Science of Happiness here’s what we know. We know that 75% of people who work in education experience high levels of stress, and when we are stressed we have certain parts of our brain that are actually inaccessible. They are shut down to us. We can’t problem solve very well. Our cognitive skills are impaired; yet most of us, at least 75% according to the research, are going around with very stressed brains throughout our day and even when we leave our job, at home. 

What’s also interesting is that 85% of people in education report that they have a work life imbalance right now. I’m not shocked by this. I actually think that most people in the world today who are working jobs, and also trying to raise families, and run a household are struggling with work life balance.

But to be honest, I really don’t even like that word. The word balance to me is so unattainable. Like I can’t even get to balance. I’ve never been at “balanced”. I always said that my tombstone would probably read that “Kim worked on balance her whole life and never made it”. And I felt like I was always failing at that goal that I could never get to.

I actually propose a new word to people when I’m talking to them. I propose the word “flow”. I want us to reach for more flow in our life. Flow is a little bit easier. It feels not as heavy – it feels lighter. Flow doesn’t mean that everything’s going to go perfectly. You know, flow to me reminds me of a river; like the water’s going down and it’s running into some obstacles and some rocks and it has to re-calibrate, but it still has forward momentum. 

I tell people let’s reach for more flow in our lives. We have to really evaluate what are the important aspects of our life. You know you have your career, which is important. And then you have your family that’s important. Your marriage that’s important. Your children that are important. Your physical fitness that should be important. Your spirituality, your passions, your creativity, the things that light your soul on fire. We kind of have all these pieces of the pie, but we don’t know how to juggle them all, and you’re never going to be able to have them all in balance. 

I don’t even think that’s the goal. I think the goal is to be in flow. To understand how do I feel in flow in the areas of my life that are very important to me. And flow just means that on more days than not, I feel good in that area of my life. More days than not, I’m showing up to my job feeling good and I’m leaving my job feeling good. More days than not, I feel good in my marriage. More days than not, I feel good in my health and fitness. More days than not I feel good in my spirituality. 

What we learned from the science, is we don’t have to tip the scales by very far to start getting the benefit. You just have to tip the scales by 1%. If I can get you to 51% feeling good in your career, then I’ve just tipped the scales 1% in your favor. And that 1% works as combined interest. It’s just silently building in the background, but it’s starting to make ripples that turn into waves in the other parts of your life .

So, I’ve written an entire chapter on “how do we find more flow in our lives”, “how do we deal with the stresses of our lives”. But also, make sure that whatever our goals are and our values are, that we’re taking the necessary steps and actions and behaviors to align to how we want to feel in our lives. I want us to feel good a lot of the time and I believe it is possible.

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