Why do people get their best ideas in the shower?

The benefits of taking a shower might be more than skin deep – and there’s a reason why many people get their best ideas daydreaming there.

[Mar 14, 2022: Liz Connor]

The benefits of taking a shower might be more than skin deep - and there's a reason why many people get their best ideas when they're daydreaming under the water. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

When it comes to taking daily showers, there are generally two types of people - those who see jumping under the jets as a functional job to tick off in the morning, and those who savour being in the warm water and extend it for an extra five minutes or so.

Whichever camp you fall into, the benefits of taking a shower might be more than skin deep - and there's a reason why many people get their best ideas when they're daydreaming under the water.

A study by cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman found that 72% of people generate new ideas while they're in the shower - giving themselves permission to daydream, which can be an important element to incubating creative thoughts.

The survey, which looked at 4,000 people aged 18 to 64 across eight different countries and was commissioned in 2014, revealed that 14% of people take showers for the specific purpose of dreaming up a new idea, for fresh thinking or for problem-solving.

Speaking at an Ignite80 (ignite80.com) panel, Kauffman said the "relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment" may help people to think more creatively, as it allows "the mind to wander freely, causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams".

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Nikki Taylor is a busy entrepreneur who has tapped into the benefits of so-called 'power showering', using Kauffman's idea of creative brainstorming to help generate new ideas. "Before I became a mum, I used to love journaling," says Taylor, who runs a property consulting business (italy-propertyconsulting.com).

"The only time I really have to myself is when I'm in the shower, so I utilise that five to 10 minutes to think about what I'm grateful for and to visualise what I want from my business in the future."

Taylor says that when we journal, we tend to just head into auto-pilot and write down the same thoughts and feelings. By contrast: "When you're thinking of ideas in the moment, especially in the shower, it's a great way to daydream and manifest some bigger-picture ideas that you might not normally have time to think about."

So how do you get in on the entrepreneurial power shower game? "Some people might want to record their ideas and thinking processes using their smartphone while they're in the shower, so you can listen back to it later," she suggests.

Taylor says she prefers to start with affirmations - positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. "I say them out loud to myself in the shower, and then I'll think about any problems I'm encountering in my business.

"Being in the shower forces you to be away from your phone and your laptop, and I can't think of any other time where you can creatively think without any interruptions.

"I think it's a really handy tip for anyone who's time-poor like me," she says, adding: "We get so caught up in life that journaling can become a bit of a chore. You always have that time in the shower that's yours - away from emails, social media and other distractions."

For more science and technology stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.

Note: Materials provided above by Liz Connor. Content may be edited for style and length.

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Tags: #New_Discoveries, #Showers, #Temperature, #Cognitive_Science, #Science, #Neuroscience, #Creativity, #Ideas, #Research, #The_Brighter_Side_of_News

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.