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.

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 …

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Intermediate: B1

Submitted by starfish2019 on Sat, 10/08/2019 - 17:51

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Have you ever been in a 'state of flow' while doing an activity? Yes, I had while I was doing my website design, business cards design, listening music, sending shipping quotations to customers and doing sales and marketing plans for my logistics business.

Submitted by pam89 on Fri, 09/08/2019 - 10:23

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I think when I'm going to do something that I love than I'm in a state of flow. For example,when I play tennis

Submitted by tunguyenprnt on Sat, 06/07/2019 - 15:09

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What does "state of flow" mean? Can you explain for me?

Hello tunguyenprnt

That is what the professor describes in the sixth paragraph. A 'state' is what our mind or heart (when 'heart' refers to our whole being) is like at a particular time. The idea here is that when we are very concentrated and creative with something at the same time, we are in such a state.

If you do an internet search for 'Csikszentmihalyi state of flow', I'm sure you will see many other explanations of this idea.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Claudette Ndenzako on Sat, 06/07/2019 - 07:07

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I love dancing, singing and listening to music. I could spend my entire life doing just that. Yes it does make me happy.

Submitted by Marie17 on Mon, 03/06/2019 - 11:06

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Hello The state of flow is an intense state of concentration on what we do and I experience it when i write poetry or when I am painting but also when I medite. All these are strange experiences where life appear us more full, intense,deep and I enjoy this! Best to you

Submitted by yassin Albashkany on Sat, 18/05/2019 - 13:42

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agree , I think i've been in a state of flow , I really interested in this subject , thanks

Submitted by liaben on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 17:28

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When I swim I feel this state

Submitted by AlexS on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 05:01

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Our life is what we think of it!

Submitted by Ol4ik on Fri, 03/05/2019 - 18:53

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Thanks for record, it was realy interesting! I have had experiense of feeling happiness during painting by soft pastel. I enjoy this activity and can waste hours for it.

Submitted by Demi on Thu, 25/04/2019 - 09:12

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Yes,I have been in a state of flow while doing an activity.I think it’s called passion in some other way.For me,I’m in a state of flow when I dance.I’m really happy whenever I dance .So,I agree with this definition of hapliness.

Submitted by Siberian on Wed, 24/04/2019 - 11:56

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I have noticed this states in my life so many times. I am PR-specialist. And when I am working at the new project I lost the feel of time. I can forget about meeting, eat, rest etc. All my thoughts in that moment are about the subject. I am sure that it is a way to do all your best because you are so concentrated and self-controlled. And when you are inside the flow it`s look like the univerce helps you!

Submitted by Natik on Sun, 21/04/2019 - 20:59

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Yes. I think i’ve Been in a state of flow

Submitted by Noble Turk on Fri, 12/04/2019 - 18:44

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I really interested in this subject. İs there any following writing about this topic?
Hello Noble Turk, We don't have a direct follow-up to this lecture, but you can use our search page to find material on similar topics: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/content ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team
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