In positive psychology, flow refers to the feeling of being totally in the zone. It’s when you are so deeply involved in an activity of enjoyment and creativity that you lose track of time. Our #BeintheFlow blog series explores how real and inspiring people overcome adversity to find their flow. Read Bianca Venerayan’s inspiring story below.
My wellness journey started six years ago, when I got a diagnosis for Bipolar II disorder. I realized I needed a framework for how I handled my life in the future, so I started doing yoga. At first it was just for fun or as a hobby. I didn’t realize I’d become so immersed in it later on.
Back then, I was a fashion blogger of sorts, and a lot of my life wasn’t fitting together. I wasn’t super interested in fashion as an art form anymore, as I had been in high school. I was sleeping a lot. I was really sad.
So I decided to change everything that I was doing. I sold my half of the company that I owned at the time, which was a fashion-line-turned agency. I threw myself into not knowing what I was doing for a couple of years. In those two years, I did a lot of self reflection — I read a lot of self-help books, I went to therapy, and eventually, things started to turn around for me. It almost seemed like everything started to fall into my lap. I was offered a bunch of writing gigs that were way more aligned with who I am. Now, I find myself here, in a place where I want to share the benefits of taking care of yourself with other people.
It was all a very slow, slow progression, through talking with friends and picking out lines in the books I was reading. A really big one was learning about cognitive dissonance, which is when what you think, say, and feel aren’t in line, so you don’t feel in balance. I realized that what I thought wasn’t in line with what I was doing, so I began to make minor adjustments. The universe aligned for me when I really started to pay attention to the voice inside myself.
What makes me happiest day to day is being present. It’s not about any of the external factors affecting me. It’s about looking internally and being grateful about the, “now.” Sitting the park in the sunshine — there’s nothing much better than that.
“It’s about looking internally and being grateful about the, ‘now.'”
I think that’s also what gets me most in the flow — being present. Even if I have to do something I don’t like, I think, “This thing will lead me to this next thing, and it’s just as necessary as the fun thing I’d rather be doing.” That kind of gets me in a what you’d call a “flow state” — really being mindfully involved in whatever it is that I’m doing. It’s hard for me though. It only comes easily when it’s visual-art related, which these days for me is with Photoshop and graphic design, but used to be painting. I’ve been using Photoshop since I was seven, so that kind of feels like my paint brush nowadays.
I feel like I also found my flow when I discovered my voice online. In the past, I had a lot of brand partnerships that just weren’t aligned with me, spiritually. It was a lot of fast fashion brands and stuff like that, and it came from the feeling of not feeling like I could say what I needed to say or wanted to say or things that I would never say.
So when I quit fashion blogging, I didn’t see why my Instagram should be that anymore. I thought, “I’m just gonna start being my weird self on it.” That kick-started it, and I guess people thought it was funny and were enjoying the real me. That pushed me to share more and be more open.
I think there’s a lot to be said about the importance of emotional vulnerability on the Internet. In today’s society there’s a pressure both within individuals to be a certain way — I know for me I had bipolar depression and it was so much harder to feel and grow when you’re constantly berating yourself for feeling a certain way. I would always say, “Oh I’m sad and useless and lazy, and because of that I can’t get any work done, blah blah blah.”
I would speak to myself in a way that I’d never speak to a person I loved. What I’m trying to say is that people like to cover up the bad parts of life in order to value the good. But the bad is completely necessary for growth; it’s part of life. Through my Instagram, through sharing even the disgusting or crude, or not-so-curated parts of me, think it helps my followers, who are mostly younger girls. It shows that the non-glorified parts of you are OK, too — not only is it OK, but they’re what make you you.