Creating a Flow Room

8 comments

in Creativity,Happiness

I love being in the flow. You know that place, don’t you? Where you are so absorbed in what you are doing that time just melts away? Where you return to real time curiously refreshed and energized? Happy?

Flow is a special place that I don’t get to very often any more. With the seemingly endless demands of trying to run my life, my time is consumed with task management. Staying on top of things. Making things happen.

Which is why, with the start of the new year, I am particularly intrigued with an idea posed by Dan Buettner, the author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way. Buettner identified four of the happiest places in the world and traveled there to find out why the inhabitants were so happy.

In Denmark, he saw that families had created what he called flow rooms. In these rooms free of TV’s and computers, families came together to engage their creativity, challenge themselves with projects, and have real conversations.

Buettner noticed that flow rooms had the best light and furniture, were outfitted with large tables to support games, crafts, and the like, and were filled with the family’s creative or artistic endeavors such as musical instruments.

Brilliant.

In America, many of us have family rooms. Unfortunately, from my experience, the family room tends to be a place where we flop down and watch TV. We tend to be engaged with our TVs and not with each other. And, we most certainly aren’t engaged with ourselves. It is easy to disappear into nonsensical TV programs and movies. That certainly seems to be the case with my own family room.

Maybe it is time to re-purpose our family rooms and give them a fresh look. To invite creativity. Foster engagement. Promote social interaction. Talk. Laugh. See time disappear in a way that leaves us refreshed.

Consider creating a flow room in your own home by incorporating some of these basics:

  • Good light.
  • Inviting colors and atmosphere.
  • A decent table big enough to support activities (and one that you won’t worry about damaging).
  • Comfortable places to sit.
  • Something to cover the TV with if you just can’t get rid of it.
  • Ditto for the computer.
  • Books to help you rest or set you on fire.
  • An organized space to hold art, craft, or hobby supplies (because clutter interrupts flow).
  • Games to bring out your playful side.
  • Candles.
  • Beautiful music.

Inviting flow into your life does not have to be hard. So, drag your artistic, creative stuff out of the closet. Bring your hobbies to the hub of your family life. Get into the flow. Be happy.

Flow. Share. Subscribe.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise January 4, 2011 at

I love the idea of a flow room and I have actually been wishing for such a room for two days now without having a name for it! I am taking my art more seriously and want to designate a space for it, we have just set up a fishtank and one of my daughters has begun a ‘fashion designing’ hobby making dolls clothes while my other daughter is setting up a train set (diverse daughters!). I have been wishing we had the space in our house to devote to all these things. Unfortunately I don’t think we have the space for a permanent flow room, but how I would love one! However I do want to rethink the arrangement of the space I have to make it more amenable to our hobbies and joys. Thanks for crystallising my thinking.
Louise recently posted..Intentionality

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Andrea January 4, 2011 at

Hi Louise! I’m so happy the post was timely for you. I’ve been doing the same thing … wondering how to make my space work the best while supporting creativity and community. The idea of the flow room seemed just perfect. Wishing you joyful re-arranging!

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gee backhouse January 5, 2011 at

Hi Andrea,
A big table is a must … plus some rules that it’s not to be used as a dumping ground, too! Being able to get stuff out and experiment with ideas on a big table is one of my favourite things. Good music, candle light and incense sticks add to this, too!
So, too, does inviting a friend over and offering to share this sacred place. A place where you can explore ideas together and come up with some you never thought were possible.
Flow is fabulous.
Thanks, Gee
gee backhouse recently posted..House Warming with a Twist

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Andrea January 5, 2011 at

I love the idea of thinking of it as sacred space. Good, good insight. Thank you, Gee!

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Sandi Amorim January 16, 2011 at

I’ve been thinking of clearing out half my office and creating a little sanctuary. A corner of clear, quiet space with cushions and books offering comfort. Just thinking of it feels good!
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Giving With Both Hands

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Andrea January 16, 2011 at

I know what you mean … I’m plotting out my own flow room as we speak!

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