Finding Inner Ease to Cultivate Flow States

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What is Inner Ease?

Inner ease involves achieving balance between the mind and emotions in order to access an inner state of stillness and poise while remaining actively engaged. The HeartMath Institute describes inner ease as a highly regenerative state that builds resilience. It can be cultivated through practices like heart-focused breathing. By focusing on the heart area and breathing slowly and deeply, you consciously draw in feelings of ease. This balances mental and emotional energy. With regular practice, inner ease becomes an accessible state you can shift into amidst daily activities to stay centered. It provides you with a calm readiness that enables swift, intelligent responses without stress.

What You Do:

  • To do the technique, you focus on your heart area and breathe slowly and deeply in a comfortable rhythm.
  • As you breathe, you consciously draw in and feel the quality of inner ease to balance your mental and emotional energy.
  • You set an intent to anchor this feeling of ease as you go about your day and interact with challenges.

With practice, inner ease allows you to pause and make conscious choices rather than reactive ones. It helps you access intuitive guidance. It provides a state of calm readiness that prevents stress accumulation and helps you respond intelligently but swiftly if needed. Inner ease is said to support flow, resilience, and favorable outcomes by preventing the mind from rushing or pushing energy. It helps create the energetic environment for coherent communication, planning, and decision-making. Practicing it at the start of each day is recommended to reduce mental/emotional static and support clear thinking and reason.

In essence, inner ease allows one to tap into a state of calm and balance within, even amidst the activity and chaos of life. This provides stability and prevents stress overload.

There’s growing research that supports the idea that a state of inner ease can facilitate flow states:

  • A study on yoga found that practices generating inner ease and relaxation of body and mind also facilitated flow states during the activity (Chirico et al., 2020).
  • Research on flow states shows they often occur when challenges and skills are balanced. Inner ease may help provide this sense of balance between demands and resources.
  • HeartMath research found that intentionally shifting to a positive emotional state like appreciation or care before an activity can generate coherence in the heart rhythms. This coherence is associated with improved cognitive performance and flow.
  • Studies show heart coherence facilitates higher cognitive functions like attention, motivation, and emotional stability that allow people to achieve flow states.
  • Flow states have been linked to increased alpha brain wave activity, which is also increased by relaxation states. Inner ease relaxation may support brain patterns conducive to flow.
  • Flow is characterized by loss of self-consciousness and a feeling of things happening automatically. Inner ease may reduce self-focus and facilitate this automaticity.
  • In flow, emotions are often calm, balanced, and energized. The emotional balance from inner ease may help provide the ideal emotional state for flow.