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We all know hobbies are good for us – exercising our minds, helping us connect with like-minded people and keeping us fit and active. But did you know the right experiences can actually be the key to a happy and fulfilling life?

 According to a huge body of research in positive psychology, one of the keys to finding fulfilment is to identify and participate in what psychologists call ‘flow experiences’. Flow is a concept first proposed by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, and occurs when you are so immersed in something that you forget yourself and the world around you. Some of the best examples of this are a child at play, a highly engaged conversation, or a stimulating piece of work.

 Obviously, with work taking up almost one third of our daily lives, one of the best ways to find flow is to incorporate it into your working life. And this article provides some tips to do so.

This is not to say however, that you cannot find flow outside of work hours or later on in life. In fact, retirement is one of the greatest opportunities to explore what experiences might give you flow.

A good place to start might to be check-out activities provided by your city council.

  •  In Brisbane the city council runs the Gold (growing older living dangerously) program. This provides free and low-cost activities for residents over age 50, including anything from sushi making, belly dancing and glass mosaics to more traditional activities such as fishing, lawn bowls and crafts. See here for the full program and prices.
  • The City of Sydney holds similar program for over 55ers with activities from scuba diving, circus classes and surfing for the adventurous to more gentle exercise such as yoga, tai chi and sit to fit classes. There are also various art, music and culture classes. Check-out what’s available here.
  •  For what’s going on in Melbourne, visit the ‘that’s Melbourne’ website. It lists all the activities available in Melbourne city. Or if you want activities specifically for seniors, you can type the word ‘seniors’ in the search box on the upper right hand side of the page.

 There are plenty opportunities to find flow wherever you look – it’s only a matter of trying some out. So if you’ve always wanted to run away to the circus, don’t let age stop you.

 For more information on finding flow, take a look at this speech by the concept’s inventor – Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.