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Why People Have Their Best Ideas In The Shower

The Psychology and Physiology Of Why It Works

By Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.Published 4 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - January 2024
39

Everyone has heard the phrase, "I have my best Ideas in the shower!"

Some people have also felt this working!

Suddenly - Eureka!

The answer seems so clear!

But, is there something to this?

Well, it turns out that there is!

When you study Psychophysiology closely, you will find that several factors work together which allow us to have our best Ideas in the Shower!

Showers themselves aren't "Inherently" magical, but in a way, the number of Benefits that occur at the same time can make them "Feel" magical!

To understand what is actually happening, you first need to understand Stress.

At this point in history, 80% of people are in Burnout.

There are many more who are not far away from it.

Now, "Burnout" is just a fancy buzzword for Extreme Dis-Stress.

However, "Stress" is not inherently bad!

Dis-Stress is, of course, bad.

However, there is also Eu-Stress, or "Good Stress".

All of our best work, and best Ideas, happen when we are in Eu-Stress (this is also where we find Flow States).

With this understanding, we can start to understand what is happening in a Shower.

Different Psychophysiological Factors happen that allow us to lower our Stress Levels into the Eu-Stress Zone.

So what are these Factors?

The first is that Showers tend to be one of the few moments in our lives when we STOP Thinking about all of our problems!

This means that we often use Showers as a form of Recovery.

This Recovery allows us to do something rare in today's world - Relax!

That Relaxation will drop our levels of Stress and move toward the Eu-Stress Zone.

But there is a LOT more!

If we think about a Shower, it is one of the few times we are COMPLETELY exposed - as naked as one can be!

But when we are in the shower, alone, we aren't "thinking" about how we are naked, or exposed, or anything like that!

We're just doing something that every person needs to do, clean themselves.

In Psychology, we would call that "Dropping our Self-Consciousness".

We are not thinking about our looks, or how others might perceive us, or what our hair looks like, or how many "likes" our Instagram Selfie got, or anything else like that.

See, the more Self-Conscious we are, the more Stress we accumulate.

By Dropping our Self-Consciousness while in the Shower, we are reducing the Mental Load that most people carry continuously in today's world!

But we can keep going!

As the air warms up, this thing called "Steam" rises.

If you breathe Steam too quickly, you will feel like you are drowning.

However, our body Unconsciously understands this, and so in the presence of Steam our Breathing will slow down.

There are multiple benefits to this.

The act of Slower Breathing is a direct way to calm ourselves down.

This is another way to say that we are lowering Stress Levels.

With this, our HRV will also Increase.

There is a lot of Research around HRV that shows that Improved HRV is a factor in Improved and Clearer Thinking!

Now, let's look at the Water itself!

The first aspect is that the Water is typically Warm or Hot.

(There are "different" Benefits to Cold Showers, but the "Shock" of a Cold Shower is not Conducive to lowering Dis-Stress, so not something we will look at here)

When the Warm Water hits our body, what happens?

Well, the first is that the Warmth itself helps our Muscles Relax.

Often when we are in Dis-Stress our Muscles will tighten up (Or tight Muscles will create Dis-Stress, either way not good).

So, when our Muscles Relax, our body's Stress Load also decreases here!

But the Warmth plays another role for us!

As our Body Temperature increases, our Blood Flow will also Increase.

This means that Blood will Flow to the Brain more easily, which also has been shown to lead to better Thinking!

Then, the Water plays one more fascinating role!

Our bodies have Nerve Endings ALL throughout our body.

These make up our "Nervous System", which has a lot of Neurons acting as a type of "Brain".

When our Nerve Endings are left unused, it actually can cause a LOT of Chronic Stress on us!

In our Sedentary World, which has few REAL challenges for our bodies, it has become a rarity for us to "properly" use our Nervous System throughout our body.

BUT this is untrue in the Shower!

It is one of the few places where we "feel" all these different Nerve Endings.

It acts like a Micro-Massage, Acupuncture, or Tapping.

This ends up putting the Nervous System "Brain" at ease, leading to further Stress Reduction!

There is ONE more major benefit to the Shower that helps us understand why we gain new Ideas and Insights during them.

Where are you Focused during a Shower?

Maybe you Focus on the Heat.

Perhaps it is the Feeling of the Water.

Or you know... the actual Process of Washing Yourself.

But you know what you stop thinking about?

EVERYTHING ELSE!

Now, THAT is not super fascinating UNTIL you understand how Thinking occurs.

See, there are 2 places where Thinking Occurs.

There is the Conscious - what we "recognize" as what we are thinking about.

However, there is also the Unconscious!

Even when we aren't "actively" Thinking about something, our Brains will still Process Information in the Background.

Now, why is this so Important?

Well, the "Processing Power" of the Conscious and Unconscious are completely different.

You can think about the "Conscious" like trying to figure out a problem with a Pen and a Sticky Note.

The more complicated the problem, the more difficult it is to put it ALL on a Sticky Note.

But the Subconscious?

It is like putting your problems through a NASA Supercomputer.

Which one do you think is Faster?

I think "most" of us recognize that the NASA Supercomputer is significantly faster!

Or another way to put it - the Unconscious works WAY faster than the Conscious!

But most people try to keep ALL of their Challenges in their Conscious Brain!

It's like trying to solve 100 things ALL on the same little Sticky Note!

We "rarely" get any good Solutions.

But in a Shower, it's one of the FEW times we ALLOW everything inside our Brains to be pushed to the Unconscious.

THIS then leads directly to MUCH better thinking ALL without us needing to Focus on it!

Then, when you combine this with everything from before, you have a perfect recipe for BRILLIANT Ideas!

So, if you've been avoiding Showers, do us all a favor a PLEASE take one!

You have SO many new reasons to take them now!

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About the Creator

Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.

Creator of the Multi-Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Digital Writer (450+ Articles), & Speaker

https://www.TheLeadership.Guide

[email protected]

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Comments (21)

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  • K. Wisendanger 3 months ago

    Very informative, helpful, and compelling.

  • Toby Heward3 months ago

    Very insightful and mades me ponder future possibilities. Nice job.

  • Natasha Collazo3 months ago

    BACK TO SAY CONGRATS!

  • Test3 months ago

    Bravo! Your hard work is paying off—keep it up, congratulations!

  • Scott Christenson3 months ago

    Congrats on this article making the front page Cody! Getting your message out there. I've been reading a copy of The Art of the Impossible you recommended, and this matches with some of the things I've been reading there. How to enter the flow state!

  • Kodah3 months ago

    I love my shower thoughts! It's my favorite part of the day, kind of like a debrief conversation with your inner thoughts!

  • Patricgamer4 months ago

    I have this happen often too

  • Stephanie Hoogstad4 months ago

    I always thought that I got my best ideas in the shower because showers helped me to relax and got my conscious mind off of the challenge, but I had no idea how many levels in worked on. Thank you for this very informative article.

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    Interesting, Cody. I don't know if I've noticed clear thinking in the shower but it makes sense.

  • Jay Kantor4 months ago

    Fun: So Cody, From a Layman's point of View: Like who doesn't do their best work in the shower - probably no need for a Nasa scientist to explain why - or even a schprickcle of Ai dust; natural is what natural does. Jay Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Village Community

  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    Ahh, that was refreshing, just like the shower itself. It does make perfect sense though. When all the distractions of your world are silenced by the shower it allows those moments of clarity to filter through. Great job explaining this to us and congrats on your Top Story. Well-deserved!

  • Clyde E. Dawkins4 months ago

    OMG it's all true! I've thought of a lot of good ideas in the shower, even some of my stories as well! Very well done, and congrats on Top Story!

  • Ace Melee4 months ago

    I dread showers sometimes because of panic attacks, getting dizzy, or being unwell. I have time when to shower and hope I don't fall. The funniest part is that my imagination, poetry, and 'albums' come while in the shower. It makes the drawbacks not so bad. Congrats on Top Story!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Lana V Lynx4 months ago

    Really love this breakdown of all the benefits of taking a shower. More reasons for me to think of it as special me time.

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago

    Interesting breakdown of a long-standing conundrum! 🚿 🛁

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    That was quite interesting. Congrats on the Ts.

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    This is genuinely fascinating. I guess you could get similar results in the bath, but you lose some factors, so it wouldn't be as good. I do some good thinking in the bath though. I need to start leaving my phone and book in the bedroom and just let myself think!

  • Hey, um, again at the risk of sounding dumb, what's HRV? 😅 I never knew that these would be the reasons as to why we get the best ideas in the shower. I have always assumed that it's because in the shower, we tend to do things on auto-pilot (at least I do) and that's why our brain is more productive, because of that temporary dissociation. But I dissociate a lot so showers aren't the only time my brain works better. But by working better doesn't mean in a good way 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Natasha Collazo4 months ago

    Yessss! Showers are mystical places. I love the way idea of being naked and not thinking about it. Just being the full whole creature we are. Most of my writings happen at midnight when I’m laying in bed “ resting” my mind. Not sure what the science is behind that one. But I’m thinking it has something to do with relaxing the body though the mind is like, yea, I’m not on board with this yet lol so let’s think

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