How to overcome stress with the flow

Stress! 🤯 This concept might ring a bell, doesn't it? In our daily lives, stress has quietly become commonplace, often going unnoticed. Imagine find a fun and easy way to manage stress. In this article we explore the concept of "flow" and demonstrate how it can significantly enhance your well-being.
pottery handbuilding

The long term stress

The last century brought countless technological inventions, and the internet made life fast. Along with the countless possibilities that technology provides, people have had to face the negative effects of a now always-running society. A new kind of intensive, long-term stress is one of the common effects people had to adapt to. As the WHO (World Health Organization) classified: “stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century”.

The flow: a new way to manage the stress

As the modern “disease” of stress gained recognition, new holistic approaches emerged. One popular discovery was the “Flow experience,” as described by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. This positive philosophy highlights the feeling of being completely engaged in a creative or active process, often experienced by artists and athletes. In this ecstatic state, the boundaries of the body and identity vanish from consciousness, offering a respite from the demands of existence. Essentially, it serves as a form of stress management by diverting attention and inducing relaxation.

Drawing, sports, playing musical instruments—all offer avenues to immerse oneself in the flow experience. There’s one in particular that we love because it’s fun, incredibly satisfying, and relaxing: pottery! Working with clay brings a unique flow, and its flowing effect is the reason that brought us to practice pottery and keep going on our mission to to offer it to other people.

Pottery: try to believe!

Now that you’ve seen it’s possible to overcome stress with the flow experience and pottery we want to outline all the key points applied to ceramics. With pottery the flow experience is guaranteed! And here’s why:

Csíkszentmihályi’s "8 characteristics of Flow”
applied to pottery

  1. Complete concentration on the task
    Pottery demands total concentration and becomes a meditative experience. Each movement is deliberate, and the person who is doing pottery is fully immersed, shutting out the outside world.

  2. Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
    There’s nothing more satisfying than creating something 3D from an imagined picture or goal. Also, clay only does what you do to it, so it’s a mirror of your movements!

  3. Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down)
    Our own and our student’s experience is time either speeding up or they lose complete track of it while making.

  4. The experience is intrinsically rewarding
    Making something from a handful of mud is always rewarding. If you’re new to ceramics; basically anything will make you proud of yourself.

  5. Effortlessness and ease
    Even if you don’t feel like that the first time you try, keep in mind that skilled artists experience effortlessness all the time. It is worth to practise!

  6. There is a balance between challenge and skills
    That’s right! It keeps us motivated. If you already have the technical skills, you can challenge yourself by making bigger or more complex pieces.

  7. Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
    It creates a knowledge-based safe space and skill base that you can confidently “use” without thinking about destructive thoughts.

  8. There is a feeling of control over the task
    Skills, skills, skills! And the learning process never ends. Even the finest masters can learn from a project or a new material

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I hope you found some useful takeaways to apply in your life. If you haven’t yet, and want to experience flow through pottery, try our taster class!

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