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An introduction to a lecture

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Transcripts

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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Comments

of course, i think everyone has experienced the state of flow. in fact it depents of what you're doing, if it concerne a very interesting subjet you'll obviously being in state of flow.
for my part i used to felt asleep when i watch a boring movie, but when it's on interesting subjets, i usually forget about things surounding me, feel totally absorbed.

Yes I have. I have been in a "state of flow" during all the New Years holiday which I have spent with my friends at the Lago Maggiore. During those days I felt very well, they were a continuous party. I think that Csikszentmihalyi was right when he defined the "State of Flow". During those days the time was stopped and I didn't think about my problems and my worries, I felt only well with people which I loved. Rarely it happened while I was studying or working, but I think that is the same for almost all people.

Yes. It's necessary for me when I need to focus on any kind of work or something good. I can waste a lot of time while doing it, but if it was useful, it makes me happy.

Yes. I had.

Yeah. When I have to solve a problem, I just focus on it and the time just pass away.

Yes of course. I am in a state of flow while i'm studying. I have a habit when i start learning, i turn off face book or social network to focus on studying effectively. So i completely lost track of time.

yes, I had. when I draw I can lost track of time, I feel the time flow so fast.

Hi everyone!
Yes, indeed, I know this feeling, when I am in "a state of flow" - it is happen when I involved in something interesting to me. Yes, its very fantastic feeling- in these moments - I am very happy.

Yes, I been in a "state of flow" when I was really enjoyed in an activity or when I was really worried about something. So I am not sure that the "state of flow" means a state of happyness.

I used to be in a state of flow when I was doing my university homework, in that time I preferred to study at night time late due to there wasn't any noise around.

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