Showers are not only the best place to get clean, they also tend to be the best place to have creative moments or epiphanies.
Everyone knows what I am talking about. Shower time tends to be creative time for most people and now scientists know why. It all has to do with what we are doing and how the brain is responding. And, all the while being electrically grounded to the Earth via the conductive nature of water and metal pipes.
Taking a shower is an easy task that is done daily. Thus, we don’t need to focus on it. “Research shows you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous, like fishing, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot. This frees up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind goes wandering, leaving your brain to quietly play a no-holds-barred game of free association.” (Mental Floss)
This process of non-focus allows the brain to go into a brainstorming daydreaming state. This frees up the brain to be creative and think about new pathways to discover.
“This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and behavior. It also switches on the rest of your brain’s “default mode network” (DMN) clearing the pathways that connect different regions of your noggin. With your cortex loosened up and your DMN switched on, you can make new, creative connections that your conscious mind would have dismissed.” (Mental Floss)
This “default mode network” is perfect for subconsciously making discoveries, or creating new ideas that were already stored in the brain but pushed aside for the efficiency of focusing on a single task like work or helping a child with their homework.
“Thinking hard about a problem deactivates your default network. It boosts your prefrontal cortex’s control. This isn’t a bad thing—it tightens your focus and gives you the power to stop gawking at cat pictures and hit that deadline. But it can also dig you into a creative rut. Because when you’re deeply focused on a task, your brain is more likely to censor unconventional—and creative—solutions.” (Mental Floss)
Basically, it is near impossible to think creatively when one is facing a deadline or too focused on a task. Thus, when the brain finally gets a change to shut down in the shower or on a walk, it instead looks at everything it learned that day in a new creative light.
Earthing or Grounding and its Effects on Brain Chemistry
When you are in the shower, that may be the only time during the day that you are actually electrically grounded to the Earth. Why? Because most of us wear shoes all the time, walk on insulated surfaces (wood), and sleep in beds that can carry nasty static electricity, we lose track of what its like to be grounded or earthed. Grounding or earthing is the process whereby you electrically connect to the Earth’s own electromagnetic fields by a skin-to-skin contact with the Earth.
Research gathered by Clint Ober —some of which is published in his book: Earthing— indicates that logical left brain activity is calmed by earthing and stress-related cortisol levels go back to normal. Many people who make grounding a part of their daily routine and who use grounding technology report better sleep and more creative output. A calmer left brain could help free the more imaginative right brain leading to a creative breakthrough.
The brain doesn’t rest when we rest. It just works differently.
“Strange as it sounds, your brain is not most active when you’re focused on a task. Rather, research shows it’s more active when you let go of the leash and allow it to wander. Shelley Carson at Harvard found that highly creative people share one amazing trait—they’re easily distracted. And that’s the beauty of a warm shower. It distracts you. It makes you defocus. It lets your brain roam. It activates your DMN and encourages wacky ideas to bounce around. So when the lather rinses off, your light bulb switches on.” (Mental Floss)
Its as if all this research on new ideas and creativity is leading to an interesting conclusion: All one has to do is engage in Nature — hiking, swimming, planting, etc. while electrically touching Nature — and let the mind wander if you are trying to find a creative answer to a truly difficult problem.