You are in the bathroom, eased and relaxed, the water drops sound pleasant, and as it pours on your body it feels like a massage. You have just begun to lather yourself with body wash or a soap and suddenly, you are hit with a brilliant idea and/or a plan – A solution to the problem at work, the exact location of your lost keys or maybe a random thought on how to begin with things.
So why does this happen? What are these Shower Thoughts and Why Do you Get Great Ideas only During Shower?
Well, creativity is quite weird. It acts like a gentle beast. When you try to boost creativity, nothing happens. In fact, it gets pushed away. This is the reason why some of our best ideas happen when we are not thinking about anything at all. For instance, during a shower, travelling as a wanderer, cleaning our house or even when we are in the loo.
Why? Because during these times, our mind wanders and our actions become automatic. These moments are an unintentional break and breaks are always powerful. Moreover, according to psychologists it turns out that, unfocused and undirected engagement in any activity is a great catalyst for free association as we become less aware of our environment, but more aware of our internal thoughts.
According to John Kounios, a psychologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, when we take a break, our thought patterns do not interfere our thinking. Instead, all the problems that is running in our head gets removed from the mental area and incorporates with the ideas in our head. Ultimately, it finds one or maybe several ideas that finally rises into a solution, giving an Eureka moment just like Archimedes.
It is still not clear how our brain decides which are the right connections, but it is almost clear that the farther our brain can roam, the better it is. There are research that have highlighted that our brain generates greater creative webs when we are in a positive and good mood. This makes sense, after all, when we are gloomy, our anxious brains tend to plague our mind on linear solutions.
The Shower Thought is nothing but the Default Mode Network (DMN)
What happens inside in your head when your mind wanders? Well, our brains very much work. In fact, a particular group of prime agents actually increase in our activity whenever we aren’t focussed on our task. This is the Default Mode Network (DMN)
The Default Mode Network works quietly in the background just like the subconscious mind. It is all about the things that goes on inside our head. When we activate the Default Mode Network of ours, we go into the autopilot mode and tap into those thoughts.
So, How Do You Get access to the Default Mode Network?
According to the scientists, relaxation and distraction are the two components that can get you the access to the DMN. When you are completely relaxed, your brain releases ‘dopamine’ that translates into creativity. Secondly, you need to distract yourself from your conscious mind. In order to do this, you need to distract yourself from your conscious thoughts and allow your mind to take you whereever it wants.
This can happen only when you follow these two things – relaxing environment and mindless monotony. One of my young relative I know log into her default networking by cleaning her room (she isn’t aware though anything about DMN). It sounds quite boring, isn’t it? but that is exactly the point here.
Being a boring task, she doesn’t have to think anything at all, and it is so much of a routine that her subconscious mind is absolutely free to wander anywhere it wants to. She has confided in me that how some of the best thoughts that came to her mind was when she was involved in this boring stuff of cleaning her room.
For me, it is always when I’m aimlessly wandering in the park amidst the nature or while waiting for a bus at the bus stop or many a times when I’m stuck in a traffic jam while commuting.
Daydreaming is something that I have been doing right when I was a kid, while, I loved it immensely, I pinched myself to concentrate on my work after all our society tells us to focus on ‘now’ but over the years I have realized it does allow me to intellectualize concepts, giving me alternative ideas to certain things while allowing me to plan my future. At the moment, post daydreaming I’m back to my conscious level with some great ideas to pen my new article.
Do you too get immensely energized post your shower thoughts? Please do share your experiences on the same.