Many of us learn some kind of art when we’re in school. This might be a visual art such as painting or photography or it could be learning an auditory art such as music or a tactile one such as pottery. But we’ve all had that experience of getting so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget about everything around us. This is called a flow state and it occurs when you’re completely immersed in what you’re doing.
Flow States, Learning, and Art
Time just seems to fly by when you’re in a flow state, but you’re so engaged in your project that you don’t notice. It’s only when the project is coming to an end (or when that particular part of that project is coming to an end) that you realize how deeply engaged you were in it.
How Art Starts to Seem Extraneous
The fact is that children experience this type of flow state as well when they are engaged in some form of art. But as they get older, they’re often told to stop doing extraneous things and just focus on what matters—reading, writing, and arithmetic. These are the three things that are supposed to be of the most help in life. And they are definitely the things that will get a child into college and through college. So it’s necessary to focus on them for sure, but not at the expense of art.
Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron, the writer of The Artist’s Way, encourages everyone, including adults as well as children, to “make a little art.” Her whole idea is that you don’t have to give your entire life up to art. Neither do you have to start some huge project such as a wall mural or a full-length novel. But you can do something small and fun, something that you enjoy, something that will give you a time out from everything else that you have to do in life. And this can be useful for children as well.
Children Also Experience Stress in Their Lives
Many of us don’t realize the incredible amount of stress a child has in his/her life nowadays. Not only are they expected to excel at a number of subjects, but they’re also expected to have extracurricular activities and socialize with friends. So the life of a child is, in fact, every bit as stressful as the life of an adult. If they can escape from it for a little while by making something beautiful, that’s going to help them to come back to their normal lives feeling more relaxed and joyful.
Priming Your Brain to Enter a State of Flow
Keep in mind that when you learn to get into a flow state while doing one thing, you’re also more likely to get into that state while doing something else. For example, if you experience a flow state while painting or sculpting, your brain is going to be primed to enter into it again. So a child might experience this flow state again later while they’re reading something for class, writing a paper or doing arithmetic.
The Importance of the Flow State in Motivation
The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows. And the more you enter into a flow state, the more likely you are to do so again. Basically, it’s entering into this flow state which is going to help a child succeed in life. Because it’s only when you’re engaged in something that you can bring yourself to keep doing it over and over. Getting into a flow state helps you to stay motivated in your studies and at work.
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