Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology

pp 239-263


The Concept of Flow

  • Jeanne NakamuraAffiliated withThe University of Chicago
  • , Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiAffiliated withDivision of Behavioral & Organizational Science, Claremont Graduate University Email author 

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What constitutes a good life? Few questions are of more fundamental importance to a positive psychology. Flow research has yielded one answer, providing an understanding of experiences during which individuals are fully involved in the present moment. Viewed through the experiential lens of flow, a good life is one that is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. In this chapter, we describe the flow model of optimal experience and optimal development, explain how flow and related constructs have been measured, discuss recent work in this area, and identify some promising directions for future research.