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

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Average: 3 (4 votes)

Submitted by Dariusz on Fri, 02/10/2020 - 14:28

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Yes I have been. I am in a "state of flow" for example when I learn english.
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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 09/09/2020 - 00:46

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That happened to me a lot when I was in school, I used to play the guitar and used to spare all the afternoon playing, listening and reading about music. Those days have gone, but now I use this time to learn new things and grow like a person and professional.

Submitted by katyatorres on Tue, 08/09/2020 - 04:12

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Yeah, I remember being in that stage when I'm at the church and I'm praying and worshiping to God. I forget the time because I'm focusing on that special moment.

Submitted by Abbasshirdast on Wed, 02/09/2020 - 15:20

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some times, I'm watching movies with horror genre. I love this categorize of movies. during watching it, I ignore from the passage of time. the movie maybe has long as 2 or 3 hours, but it don't caused the tiring me. by this way, my mind less involved to our problem. the another thing that I like to do for getting out of problems is walking.

Submitted by Ugulhan on Mon, 31/08/2020 - 07:24

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The state of flow can happen to my English habits. When I started to practice English then if I would meet some interesting themes I lose track of time and I would sit within long hours.

Hi Razan Mahairy,

Thanks for your kind comments. It is an interesting topic, isn't it? We're glad you found these listenings useful. 

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Hill on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 03:37

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I have been in a state of flow once I am reading books, especially my interesting books. I define the happiness is the time you do things with all your concentration and do not pay attention to things around you. The ways you do things, the goals you achieve is more important than how much you did.

Submitted by Daniela Zapata on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 23:25

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Yes, I have been in a state of flow a lot of times. Usually, when I am drawing or doing some work, I lost track of time.

Submitted by Rinaa on Mon, 24/08/2020 - 22:04

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To be honest these days I found myself in a state of flow. I'm full commitment to learning English, and sometimes I spend many hours In front of the Laptop, doing exercise to improve it without noticing that time has passed. I'm totally absorbed in it, without having an interest in anything else. I'm totally concentrated on becoming fluent in English.