An introduction to a lecture

An introduction to a lecture

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

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



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 …


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Submitted by nadyanightingale on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 13:42


I definitely was in a state of flow when I was focused on my favourite activity. I was for example during listening to the music, dancing, playing with my children, catching up with my friends, walking through the city centre of a new city as a tourist. This feeling is unbelievable and makes me alway happy.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 10/05/2022 - 06:47


yes surely, I have been in the condition of " state of flow" many times. for example when I was reading a book, going to a trip, play a music, being with a person whom I was interested to and etc.

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Submitted by Ethel on Thu, 10/02/2022 - 14:16


Yes, I experimented the "state of flow" when I play music, and even when I read. Frecuently, people must call me several times for me to answer, so is my grade of concentration.

Submitted by younes01 on Mon, 24/01/2022 - 08:06


for me, the flow is when you do something that is not hard and not easy at the same time.
for me, it's more than happiness and everyone who had tried it said it is a good thing.

Submitted by Miguelitorico1996 on Thu, 13/01/2022 - 01:46


I've sometimes been in the state of flow when I play soccer, I feel like if I were flying and all my problems are gone.

Submitted by misty on Sun, 09/01/2022 - 03:02


Yes, I've been in a state of flow most of the time while watching my favorite shows. I lost track of the time that I even forget to have my proper meal. I know, it is not a healthy habit, subsequently I try to change it.

Hi misty on Sun , I have checked your answer like pychologist and I can see that you dont are completely happy , respect your favourite series or shows on TV world´s, it is only a distractión, really you are lossing your own perspective about your life and wellbeing. of course we never try to change one situation when it make us happy really.
my advice for you search for your book of cience and read ( All the things are allowed but not all the things are convenient, All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by any). happy time

Submitted by ANOUAR on Tue, 04/01/2022 - 14:09


I remember when I was studying Math and solving equations I was totaly in a flow state And I forgot all the things around me.

Submitted by jmajo on Fri, 24/12/2021 - 16:53


Yes, I have, I've been on that state several times throughout my life, sometimes when I was working and also having fun or doing sports I remember feeling absorbed doing it, despite that I don't think it could be a permanent state of mind, rather than that it's some spontaneous and sudden state of mind, but in my case I can recognise being in that state every time I'm doing something creative or when I have to make up a solution for a problem at work. I remember when I was younger and worked in a carpentry for longer hours losing the track of time, most of the times that happened to me when I had to built a new piece of wooden furniture that demands a lot of concentration or make a restoration of it which requires a lot of measures and tests.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

Submitted by vuhoap on Wed, 24/11/2021 - 00:24


Yes, I have ever been in a 'state of flow' while programming or watching a movie. My job is programmer so I always program and debug to find bugs. The process of debug leaves me in a state of flow. So I am completely absorbed in it.