A shower is, quite literally, a place of incubation -- a change of scenery from the rest of our everyday lives that’s relatively free of stimulation and distractions.
Showering insulates us from the external world so that we can focus all of our attention on our inner desires, daydreams, and memories -- thereby increasing the likelihood that our mind will come up with creative connections.
No matter how minor they may seem, new and unexpected experiences can lead to constructive shifts in thinking. Getting off the couch and jumping in the shower may be all you need to see things a bit differently -- it can jolt you out of your ordinary awareness and create the necessary distance to force you to entertain a different perspective.
A number of incredibly successful people have had their most brilliant ideas in the bathroom, and research actually supports the idea that being in the shower could boost your powers of innovative thinking.
According to Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson, author of Your Creative Brain, the brief distraction that a shower provides can also be a good thing when it comes to creativity.
She explains that interruptions and diversions can help that all-important creative incubation period. “In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution,” Carson told the Boston Globe.
Woody Allen has been using this technique for most of his creative life. The writer and director says he regularly takes showers for inspiration, sometimes standing in the water for close to an hour to explore what’s going through his mind and to get those creative juices flowing.
“In the shower, with the hot water coming down, you’ve left the real world behind, and very frequently things open up for you,” Allen said in a 2013 interview with Esquire. “It’s the change of venue, the unblocking the attempt to force the ideas that’s crippling you when you’re trying to write.”
One of the most famous "aha!" moments in history occurred in a bathtub. Archimedes came up with the principles of density and buoyancy when watching water flow as he drew a bath, and realized that he could determine density by submerging an object in water and examining how much water had been displaced.
Legend has it that the ancient mathematician jumped out of the bath and ran through the streets yelling "Eureka! Eureka!"
But it doesn’t have to be the bathroom where you go for a little creative inspiration -- find your own personal showerhead, a space where you let your mind roam free -- whether it’s a walk near the ocean, a country drive, or in your reading nook at home.
This excerpt is from the new book Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and HuffPost Senior Writer Carolyn Gregoire.
Read more HERE.
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