An introduction to a lecture

Listen to the introduction of a psychology lecture to practise and improve your listening skills.

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.

Transcript

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the first lecture of our new course in Positive Psychology. While some people may associate psychology with looking at what's wrong with us, and at what problems we have, there is much more to psychology than that. Positive psychology, for example, looks at how to help people become happier.

This lecture begins with a question: what makes a happy life?

Now, I'm going to give you one possible answer. A happy life is a life in which you are completely absorbed in what you do. Now, how does this compare with what you and your partner said? 

This answer comes from the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the theory of flow. Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist who has spent much of his professional life on the study of what makes people happy and how we can find happiness.

Csikszentmihalyi suggests the theory that happiness is not caused by external events or things that happen to us. Our perception of these things and how we see these events either makes us happy or sad. In other words, if we want happiness, we have to actively look for it. However, this does not mean that we should always look for happiness! Csikszentmihalyi believed that our happiest moments happen when we are in a state of flow.

The theory of flow can be summarised like this: when we are totally involved in, or focused on, what we are doing, we are in a state of flow.

Csikszentmihalyi got the inspiration for this theory when he noticed how artists worked in a studio. They completely lost track of time, they didn't notice they were hungry or tired, and they could work for hours, even days, without stopping. Anyone I have spoken to who has experienced this state of concentration has said it's difficult to explain. The best way to explain it is that it is like being in a river and the flow of the water carries you away.

For the rest of this lecture, I will explore this theory of flow in more detail. First we will look at Csikszentmihalyi's life, and how it influenced his ideas. Then we will look at the conditions that go with a state of flow. What creates flow, exactly? Finally, we will look at activities that can help us achieve flow in our everyday lives. Will this course make you happy for life? Well, maybe. Maybe. 

Right, let's get started. If you look at the next slide …

Discussion

Download
Worksheet78.89 KB

Language level

Do you need to improve your English listening skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English listening skills with our online courses.
Average: 3 (4 votes)

Submitted by I P on Tue, 17/12/2019 - 22:13

Permalink
I think I have time, sometimes, when I m in state of flow - that is when I do different activities with children. With children around me I feel complete and full of beans, it s something I can t explain, so I tryed hard to make them happy, instead of it, they make mi happy more every dayy

Submitted by Lujsel on Sun, 15/12/2019 - 14:06

Permalink
Have you ever been in a 'state of flow' while doing an activity? Yes, I have been in a 'state of flow' while doing something that has the motivation, for example, I can study English all-day because I feel that it's necessary and improving my language skills. Also, we are in 'state of flow' when we are fall in love..and our all thoughts and actions are followed by a person who we love. But it has an explanation. When we have motivation in the brain increased the mix of neurotransmitters: adrenaline, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and phenylethylamine. So, for motivation or 'state of flow' need to keep healthy and in balance our neurotransmitters, especially dopamine that controls our motivation to something. And I think, to have a happy life is not mean to have everything in the world, but it is how you feel when you do work or live with somebody. Our psychological health is a measure of happiness.
Profile picture for user Smiley1

Submitted by Smiley1 on Sat, 05/10/2019 - 00:15

Permalink
I forget something else, like putting off my contact lens all day, while being in a state of flow. (* >ω

Submitted by OmarAdelSherif on Fri, 04/10/2019 - 18:14

Permalink
I think I have been sometimes in a state of flow while doing some activities. For example, while spending my time on social media talking with my friends or when I spend my time reading about a subject that interests me or listening to an interesting debate. Studying also specially interesting subjects takes me in state of flow.
Profile picture for user kamicounciler

Submitted by kamicounciler on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 21:46

Permalink
i think i have experienced "state of flow" sometimes.although not very much , but sometimes i have been in that special situation when you forget the pass of time and work for hours,and suddenly you notice that have been working for hours. however i have not had that special feeling of "being in a river" and "being taken" by the work that i am doing,unfortunately.
Profile picture for user Magedelabd

Submitted by Magedelabd on Sun, 01/09/2019 - 17:49

Permalink
I be in a state of flow if I am doing something related to my career , like sending CVs , learning English and looking for a university to study .

Submitted by arodriguezc on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 23:21

Permalink
Have you ever been in a 'state of flow' while doing an activity? Yes, when I was reading comics or listening to music. I'm in an estate of flow.
Profile picture for user mehrazin

Submitted by mehrazin on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 18:51

Permalink
hello everybody yes i have experienced the situation like that and the state of flow for many years just as Jackson mi-hay described in his interesting lecture , it was extraordinary incredible being in a hard condition working 8 hours 7 days a week without stopping and having a rest but at the same time feeling happiness. when i was listening to the audio i get the reason that how i felt happiness despite of the hardness es of the period . thanks alot mehrazin

Submitted by Yuli Bautista on Wed, 21/08/2019 - 09:59

Permalink
Have you ever been in a 'state of flow' while doing an activity? Yes, when I was teaching, typing some documents on the computer, so definitely while working I'd been in an estate of flow.