We’ve all experienced the 3 o’clock brick wall… that somehow lasts the whole day. Or a constant brain fog that stifles the flow of your creative juices to a slow drip.
I’ve also spent endless minutes staring at a blinking cursor, and I’ve spun my wheels countless times pondering the solution to a business problem. There is one place I go to where I often experience “EUREEKA” moments, and it’s actually not far from home.
In fact, it IS home…
I take a shower!
Showers seemed like such a luxury in those days of early motherhood when it was about more than personal hygiene – rather it was a chance to escape to a sanctuary where you could just be alone with your thoughts (without a baby screaming in your ear).
On many occasions, I’ve randomly conjured up ideas for new products, blog topics, or visuals while sudsing up my hair. I’ll even recall a past interaction I’ve had with someone, and potentially an interesting way we could reconnect, setting the stage for an opportunity to reach out.
Why Do We Get Good Ideas In the Shower?
I used to think I was a weirdo for getting inspired in the shower, but it turns out, there is scientific merit behind this phenomenon.
The science of creativity is further explained by Leo Wildrich on the Buffer blog. There is a “magic combination” that allows for the best ideas to flow from your brain:
Relaxation and Dopamine flow
When we do something relaxing, we lower our inhibitions (hello drunk-texting), which release dopamine and send alpha-waves through the brain. These waves are the same ones that take you from a wakeful state through the initial stages of sleep, which also explain why being drunk and sleepy can do wonders for your creativity!
In a relaxed state, we are able to turn our attention inwards and make insightful connections between the remote associations in our brains. In other words, we hear the “quiet voices in our heads” and the answers that have been there all along.
Mindless distraction gives our subconscious a break
Ever notice how the answers to your problem always come once you stop thinking about them? High-pressure situations stifle your thought process and stop you from thinking freely. When we distract ourselves with the mundane tasks associated with taking a shower, exercising, driving home, or cooking. These distractions free our brains from active analysis and fixation on ineffective solutions.
Then enters the subconscious brain to solve problems creatively and kick-start what scientists call the “incubation period”. This is when we return to thoughts we had earlier, and are now more willing to accept creative and unique ideas that our “focused mind” would have previously written off. The creative solutions from mind-wandering then get placed back into the conscious mind.
Stuff To Hop in the Shower With 🚿
All The Cool Kids are Doing It
Some of the most successful people in the world also devote time for mindless distraction.
Two of the world’s richest men, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do the dishes every night.
This study done by the Florida State University saw that students who were told to mindfully wash dishes (by concentrating on the feeling of the warm water, or smell of the soap) saw a decrease in their stress levels and a boost in inspiration.
JK Rowling came up with the concept of Harry Potter while on a delayed and crowded train from Manchester to London in 1990.
Don’t Forget to Write it Down!
Make sure your strokes of genius don’t go down the drain! In our busy everyday lives, those fleeting mindless moments can turn into precious gold!
The next time you’re ready to do something less-than-exciting or zone out, make sure you keep a notebook closeby to jot down any amazing ideas that may come to mind.
If you prefer the digital touch, there are countless tools and apps out there. I always find myself going back to the simplicity of Google Keep. It functions like a Post-it note so I can jot down ideas on my phone on the fly. I can also snap pictures from within the app, and they are kept out of my camera’s photo stream.
Where do you go for inspiration? Please share!
Cheers to happy and inspirational showers,
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