Why do we have good ideas in the shower?
It must have been more than once: some thought or idea had stuck in your head for a while and suddenly while you shower … Eureka !. In fact, that same expression is attributed to Archimedes upon discovering, as she was bathing, the water was promoted volume equal to the volume of the immersed body. As a result, he could measure the volume of bodies regardless of form and find that the crown of King Hiero II was not made 100% gold. I myself, in perfect time Yo Dawg, I had the idea to write this post and investigate the phenomenon while in the shower.
But why does it happen ?. While scientists and psychologists have not yet fully agree on the reasons behind the phenomenon, yes there are some common patterns that serve as an explanation. To begin with, it has to do with the state of relaxation and well-being that occurs when we are under the spray. In that state, and in most cases, instead of concentrating compulsively certain thoughts (as it usually is, but we do not even realize) our consciousness goes into something like a “Network Default Mode” and alpha waves begin flooding the brain. Alpha waves originate in the occipital lobe and are associated with periods of relaxation and sleep, or just to keep my eyes closed.
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In that state, different areas of the brain begin to connect, resulting in random associations that often end up in a good idea, others (for me the best) radically absurd ideas and others stuck to that problem that we had one good weather turning suddenly you find a solution. That is, and this applies even if we are not in the shower, most of the time the best way to solve a problem is to stop thinking compulsively on that problem. Therefore, among other reasons, conventional wisdom advised in these cases take a walk, do some activity that we relax or simply to sleep on.
Interestingly, the explanation behind consult something with the pillow has a base very similar to what happens in the shower, but with some nuances. In those prior to entering the sleep time, and unless we are extremely tired brain state closely resembles the shower: close our eyes, alpha waves flood the brain (ie physiological, it just happens when we lower eyelids) and we eliminate from our consciousness most normal distractions that often enter the picture. How is not technically very relaxed (or at least not as much as in the shower) without additional stimuli the brain tends to wander and make, in many cases, the same random connections.
The main difference between one case and another, however, has more to do with being associated with the first. And the second reason is also that scientists argue the reasons behind the good ideas in the shower: dopamine. Dopamine starts running through the bloodstream, we feel better, more relaxed, and that triggers the release of endorphins and thereby blocking the opiate receptors. A similar process occurs when we do sport, which is also another source of creativity and good ideas.
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In other words, in summary, it appears that the key is the combination of being distracted (a shower, do run, driving …) linked to welfare and subsequent dopamine which seem to go behind that occasionally, and as the water falls, shout “Eureka!”.