Imagine this, you’re in the shower busy shampooing your hair and your mind wanders off into an entirely different world. You think to yourself, what if Cinderella was actually cyborg? Next thing you know, you have the idea for your bestselling novel. Such is the world of shower thoughts.
Now I’m not saying Marissa Meyer came up with her book, Cinder, while she was in the shower but it’s a strong possibility that a lot of other people came up with their own novel ideas there.
In fact, many people believe that they get their best ideas while taking a shower. In a study done by Scott Barry Kaufman, the cognitive scientist proposed that as many as 72% percent of people get their best creative ideas while they are in the shower.
Kaufman notes that the relaxation of the mind is an important factor when it comes to creative thinking. He says: “The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams.”
The scientist also believes that in order for our brains to wander off, we need to set a specific time of solitude in order to get your best ideas out of us. The environment that you place yourself in is of utmost importance. It can be a stroll in the park, relaxing in silence in your room or – you guessed it – taking a nice hot shower.
Alice Flaherty, a renowned neuroscientist, has also given her two-cents on the subject. She believes that the most important ingredient that ignites your creative side in the shower is a chemical known as dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that transmits signals between the nerve cells of the brain. The chemical is important because it involves our motivation, memory, attention, and even regulates body movements. When there is a surplus of dopamine, our bodies become relaxed which clears the path for the flow of creative ideas in our minds.
However, the chemical dopamine isn’t just released while we are taking a hot shower. Activities like exercising or listening to music can also trigger the release of dopamine in our brains. If I was speaking for myself, I usually get my best ideas while listening to film scores.
Some scientists have proposed that distraction is key when it comes to figuring out ideas. At times when we’re rattling our brains trying to find the perfect solution to a problem, the subconscious part of our brains is working extra hard. We might be thinking about the issue for hours but when you hop into the shower, your mind eases itself and wanders off. By doing this, we allow our subconscious to transfer the ideas it had been storing into our conscious minds leading to that eureka moment. This particular phenomenon is called “the incubation period”.
Here, taking a shower becomes the ingredient to developing ideas because it provides our minds with the distraction that we needed from the outside world, and maybe even ourselves.
The only problem with getting your best ideas in the shower is that we usually don’t have a means of capturing them. Perhaps this is why God gave good sense to the people who invented waterproof notepads so that others have easy access to jotting down their ideas – even when they’re in the shower.