Why Do We Get Exceptionally Good Ideas While Showering?
And the important thing this tells us about our minds
Remember the Eureka story?
Archimedes was literally chilling in his bathtub when he discovered the Archimedes Principle.
And it’s not just him. Almost everyone tends to come up with fascinating ideas while showering. I can share various instances where a shower ‘showered’ me with creative ideas (pardon my lame sense of humour) I was struggling to get otherwise.
So why do the gods of creativity smile upon us when we shower?
Here are a few reasons:
- We embrace boredom
The way we shower is stored in our muscle memory. We don’t have to ‘think’ about putting the soap on our loofah or turning the tap on. And since there are no interesting things to look at or do, our minds tune into the frequency of our inner thoughts (purely out of boredom).
- We are more relaxed
When facing a problem, we usually get anxious over solving it. While showering, we let this guard down. Our conscious mind is at rest because we aren’t thinking about the solution continuously. This ‘restful’ state also reduces the cortisol levels (also called the stress hormone) in our bodies- the enemy to creative thinking.
- Our subconscious mind gets more space
Even though we aren’t really ‘thinking’ about the problem, our subconscious mind is constantly processing it. The restful and relaxed environment in the shower finally gives it the space it needs to make insightful connections and come up with fascinating solutions.
Result? A state that is perfect for our creativity to flow.
This is also why many find themselves getting creative ideas while walking, commuting, sipping their beverage or after napping.
The lesson shower thoughts can teach us-
When struggling with creative ideas, we need to ask ourselves just one question-
How often are we giving our minds the space they need to get creative?
A friend of mine recently shared a blog with me. It spoke of how true rest has become a lost art. And it’s true.
We have forgotten to rest and relax.
When was the last time we didn’t start using our phones at the slightest hint of getting bored?
Using Instagram or watching Netflix might seem like the modern idea of rest, but it’s not- Our brains are still busy decoding the information, sounds and pictures we see.
There’s a famous saying, “The tighter we hold onto the sand, the faster it trickles”. Our minds work similarly too. They protest every time we force them into action. The trick here is to coax them into creativity.
This might seem ironical, but the best way to come up with good ideas is by allowing our minds to get bored, to let them relax and be free. This is what we do, unknowingly as we shower. And this is what we should be doing willingly- otherwise.
So go for a walk, but keep that phone home. Cook, but turn off that music in the background. Let the mind relax, get bored and wander.
Trust me, your Eureka moments aren’t very far.
P.S: Writing this blog was a shower thought!