Do you find you often have an ‘aha!’ moment while reaching for the soap? You’re not alone. In fact, there’s actually a scientific reason why many of us feel at our most inspired while taking a shower.
As we’re obviously adept to bathing ourselves (some more so than others), we don’t need to be particularly alert or focused in order to complete the habitual tasks at hand. Our brains are then free to enter a semi-meditative state. When this happens, we become less aware of our environment and more aware of our internal thoughts, says John Kounios, a psychologist who studies creativity and distraction at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
It’s not just our daily shower that provides the perfect breeding ground for creativity – anywhere you feel relaxed and distracted has the potential to be your very own ideas factory. Are you waiting for inspo to strike? Try tapping into it in these unlikely places…
After you’ve had a few.
Believe it or not, those post-work drinks could be just the catalyst you need for an epiphany. Research shows that an individual with a blood alcohol level of 0.75 is more likely to successfully resolve a series of common creative problem-solving tasks than a sober person. What’s more, the intoxicated person is likely to come to their solution through sudden insight alone. Cheers to that!
While at work.
Granted, this one really depends on what you do for a living. But if you have a job that includes menial or repetitive tasks, you might find that your mind wanders (similar to how it does when you’re in the shower), providing the perfect environment to get those creative juices flowing. Case in point; Charles Dickens. As a boy, before his foray in freelance journalism and stint at a London law office, Dickens worked in a factory. On his first day he was shown around by a young lad called Bob Fagin and the rest, as they say, is history.
Right before you nod off.
There are certain points during the day where we all feel more focused and alert, which are crucial states to be in in order to solve problems analytically but are counterproductive for creativity. In contrast, just as we’re falling asleep and we’re at our most relaxed, eureka moments are much more likely to occur. These happen when our thoughts are processed largely out of our awareness. In other words, when we’re not thinking of them at all.
At the gym.
Regular exercise considerably boosts creativity, say experts. According to cognitive psychologist Professor Lorenza Colzato, those who exercise four times a week are able to think more creatively than those of us with a more sedentary lifestyle. Colzato believes that breaking a sweat on the regular trains your brain to become more flexible in finding creative solutions.
So if you’re struggling with writer’s block, it might be time dust off your trainers. Or you could just get drunk. Totally up to you.