Sunday, 8 September 2013

On Being a Worrier and Finding Flow

It's come to something when I can actually spend time worrying about what a worrier I am.  Don't get me wrong, I don't have chronic anxiety and I don't spend my every minute pondering the nitty gritty of every day life - I don't sweat the small stuff.  But I have noticed that when my mind is idle or I am doing something passive and undemanding (i.e. most of my usual leisure activities), my mind wanders of its own accord into those grim rooms where I keep the things that worry me - the bigger stuff.  And before I even realise I'm gritting my teeth, hunching my shoulders and adding more unnecessary grey hairs to my prematurely silver-highlighted head.

There are some activities that combat this unhealthy habit to some extent - reading would be one.  But even then, unless I am absolutely engrossed in a novel or article, I still often get to the end of the page and realise I've gone off into my own little world and not taken in a word of what I've seemingly read.  

So it was quite a surprise when I picked up a needle and some thread sometime in late 2012, having found some little cross stitch sets in Hobbycraft and decided to have a play, that I realised I could sew away for quite some time, thinking of precisely nothing much and lose myself in the simplicity of the stitching.  I think, to some extent, I found flow.

Flow, to the uninitiated, is a concept born of a Hungarian chap named  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, and describes that state where you are 'in the zone', when you lose yourself in an activity and lose track of time.  I'm not sure I feel the kind of rapturous joy that is sometimes associated with the state of flow, but I can switch off the little voices in my head, zone out and give my poor, ground down teeth a rest.

I've not done much sewing since my little discovery.  I finished the cross stitch sets, made a few little felt Christmas decorations and was given a lovely, purple sewing machine as a gift.  However I've found that I often lack the confidence to just 'have a go' and I'm the type of person who learns best by being shown practical things by someone in person.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I am starting a short course in sewing in a couple of weeks time.  My dentist and I can't wait!

I'd love to hear what brings other people flow.  


  1. Don't be afraid to just try something when it comes to sewing. I find you learn so much quicker when you just experiment than when you follow a pattern or book. Pick up some fabric from the charity shops or chop up and old sheet and just play, hopefully you'll feel the flow once you get going :-)

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I think you're right - I just need to jump in and have a go. I bought some really lovely (not cheap) fabric a while ago and I've been too scared to ruin it, so I'm going to stash it for now and start to play with something cheaper/free.