I have recently read this fascinating book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (wow that is some name!) on Flow which he defined as the process of total involvement. This usually happens when you are completely absorbed in an activity. It may be your job – although it won’t feel like work – or a hobby or just a general activity. He said that certain features must be present and therefore to “achieve” flow you must concentrate intensely and lose track of time and the activity must provide a sense of discovery and require certain skills. This seems to suggest that it can’t be a simple basic activity that you can do in a mindful way such as washing the dishes.
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile.”
Flow (1992) p3. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
However, there are definite similarities with mindfulness as he emphasised the benefits of being in the now and remaining completely in the moment. The book also provided an interesting insight into how this state (of flow) helped to produce happiness as, like mindfulness and hypnotherapy, it provides a way of controlling your inner life and your own thoughts to help rather than hinder your life.