by Tim Brunson, PhD
All of us have experienced peak times in our lives when we feel extremely motivated, capable, and in the flow. Former University of Chicago psychology department head Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi popularized the idea of a person being fully immersed in what he or she is doing at any given time. He called this an "in the zone" or "flow" state. The question that I would like to address is whether or not we can trigger this feeling at will. Furthermore, I am intrigued by the possibility that we can store and recall energizing mental resources when needed or desired. Think of this as carrying extra batteries for your cell phone. Therefore, if you were to be in the middle of a sports competition, taking a critical exam, or giving a presentation, what if you could simply decide to re-energize your neurophysiology so that you could tackle the task in a peak flow state?
During my training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) almost two decades ago Clinton Clay, LCSW, and Edna Clay impressed upon me the possibilities of biographical incidents in my past, from which I could visit and retrieve what they called resources. It seemed that by recalling and practically revivicating a memory of a time that I was performing at my best, triggered specific internal representations and neurophysiological states. By associating (i.e. seeing through my own eyes, hearing through my own ears, and realizing the associated physical sensations) into the event, I achieved a deep revivicating feeling that I was indeed there. Using ANNH terminology, it appears that I was activating (i.e. recalling) specific neurophysiological patterns to include causing a specific distribution of energy in my brain and body.