Eureka! Scientists Identify Why Some of Our Best Ideas Happen in the Shower
Why is bathing so conducive to good ideas? The answer you may be seeking lies in the origins of creativity. But the shower isn't the only place where we can attain these "a-ha!" moments.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
There’s really only one place left on this blue marble where most humans can disconnect on a day-to-day basis and feel the creative spark: the shower. You may laugh, but it’s true. For some reason this place tends to be a spark, leading to that ah-ha moment. But the shower isn’t the only place where you can have these seemingly magic moments.
Scott Barry Kaufman explained in a an online summit on work performance just why the shower is so special for creativity:
"The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, and causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams.”
It’s a place where people can be unburdened (if only for a few minutes) by outside distraction. I mean, most of us don’t bring our phones with us, right? Nor are we trying to accomplish anything, so we allow our brains to shut down, which allows another part of our brain to light up.
Our minds never stop, even when it may not feel like we’re thinking at all, and showering may be the one place where people engage their creative side without even knowing it.
Manoush Zomorodi, the host of WNYC's New Tech City podcast, did a segment called 'Bored and Brilliant', which asked people to intentionally be bored. It challenged people to intentionally engage with their creative side by succumbing to boredom. This is just one of many exercises, which can help strengthen the connection to creativity, and why they’re so effective can be explained by science.
“We think what we see is a relaxation of ‘executive functions’ to allow more natural de-focused attention and uncensored processes to occur that might be the hallmark of creativity,” says Allen Braun, a researcher who has studied the origins of creativity in the brain.
So, if you want to have the “a-ha!” moment, it’s important to let those higher brain functions rest, which we tend to do in the shower.