Why We Get Our Best Ideas in the Shower

shower-best-ideas-dopamine

Our showers are esoteric caves of magic.

Every day we’re forced to endure hours of meaningless conversation and engagement, and the shower exists as an oasis where we can retreat to be alone.

It’s a restricted domain and no one can enter your sacred space without being invited.

Showers are awesome, but even more so because a wizardly thing happens when we’re standing under that warm stream: creative ideas and the solutions to long-held problems come striking all at once. Well, there is a reason why you finally figured out how to ask your boss for a raise or came to the realization that your toxic relationship just isn’t going to work out during that sacred time.

I just experienced an idea running away from me while getting clean just the other day. I gave up on trying to figure out what it was, and instead, I wanted to look into why our best ideas hit us while we’re in the shower in the first place. I learned that the magic can be broken down into “The 3 D’s.”

Dopamine

Dopamine is the antithesis of stagnation and it gets released in our brains when we’re doing activities such as showering. The neurotransmitter “helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers,” according to Psychology Today. It’s almost like a drug that transports us from wasting time on the sidelines to immediately taking action. Creatives need constant gratification to know that their work is adding value, so they can keep creating. The release of the happy endorphin allows us to let down our mental blocks.

Distraction

The shower is a “safe space” for lack of a better term here. We know we aren’t going to get hit by a speeding bus during a shower and this allows our minds to wander. You need that hit of mindless meandering to let the ideas that aren’t even on your radar rise to the surface. During a shower, we let our minds take us on a journey and we come back with fresh ideas. This pretty much goes against everything we’ve been taught from elementary school to adulthood about staying focused. We should actually be striving to become as least focused as possible.

Drain

In this case, an empty brain is one that is prepped for creativity. Usually, we take showers very early in the morning or late at night, and by that time we’re usually drained by the pressures of the day. This works in our favor because we’re able to start fresh. You can almost compare it to a mental scrub — we’re sloughing off all of the tired ideas in order to let the new ones rise to the surface.

If you’re dealing with a creative blog and a deadline is looming, a shower may be just what the doctor ordered.

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