This month’s playlist is designed to help you get into a flow state. Ambient, mid-tempo, and groove centric sounds that will blend into each other and essentially become background noise the deeper you get. Heck—I myself am listening to the playlist as I write this. Good flow state music will obviously be different for every person, but a good starting point is a collection of tunes that are engaging enough to catch your attention but chill enough to not break your focus.
Flow State, In The Zone—whatever you wanna call it—it’s a mental space defined by clarity and effortlessness.
Psychologically speaking, “flow state” is an elevated state of consciousness that is achieved when someone is fully engaged in a complex task with intense, all-consuming focus that alters the state of their brain. Much like meditation, getting into the flow can suddenly give you a sense of time melting away, effortlessness in movements, and innate decision making. It’s a primarily intuitive mental state. Take for example catching a wave while surfing—seasoned surfers often reach flow state due to muscle memory. Their body knows how and when to move in response to the waves; when to pop-up, when to lean, where to shift weight and balance to carve, when to bail. There comes a point in whatever activity you’re doing where all of your muscle memory, knowledge, and drive suddenly click together and make the action effortless.
Most people think that meditation means sitting on a pillow with your eyes shut while you try to get your brain to shut up. It’s much simpler than that. Mindfulness is the act of being present and fully engaged with whatever you are doing that moment. You are free from distraction or judgement, and aware of your thoughts and feelings without getting hung up on them. You let it all flow through you. Being able to intensely focus on a task without distraction leads to a higher output of better quality work, be it tricks you’re piecing together on a skateboard or art you’re trying to create. Self-doubt, worries, and stress take a back seat while in the flow state. Your mind and body will know what needs to be done without even having to think about it.
The easiest way to get into a flow state is by doing something you love. Even if you’re still in the process of mastering it—as long as you are motivated, you can achieve flow state. Distraction is an immediate plug puller when in the zone. Multitasking will often create a web of distractions that leave your brain spread too thin. Being interrupted by others will force your brain to shift its focus and attention. Flow state is largely dependent on our ability to be present in the moment. It takes an average of 20 minutes to get in the zone and then requires that focus to not be broken or the clock starts all over again. This is why artists can spend hours on end creating in studios; they have no outside distraction to pull their attention away. The same way a surfer who practices again and again for an entire day will finally hit a point where everything comes together perfectly out there in the water—just them and the waves.
This playlist was designed to accompany you in your alone time and soundtrack whatever you’re immersing yourself in. Maybe you play it on your drive to the beach with your board, or while you get into a creative space with your art. Be at peace with your thoughts, create without hesitation, push yourself to accomplish something new, and just go with the flow.
Words by DJ Waves. Photographs by Lucas Murnaghan.
DJ Waves is a Toronto based creative who's been in the music industry for 8+ years. She's a regular on the resident DJ team for Budweiser Stage, moonlights as a guest host on U of T's CIUT radio station, and is a frequent headbanger at local shows. Spinning vinyl and digital tracks, her sets span every genre and time-period, making for an eclectic collection of sounds that is groovy, nostalgic, daring, and euphoric. Her sets and playlists often draw on a variety of experiences and interests that form her unique sound. She's got a penchant for hats, muscle cars, the desert, and coffee. If she's not behind a DJ booth she's most likely at Toronto's Cherry Beach, floating on a SUP or taking an aimless drive at sunset with the radio cranked. Find her on Instagram.