Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower?

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Am I the only one who wonders this? Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Seriously, the majority of my big ideas, my creative ideas and solutions to challenges come to me as I shower. Is it the flow of water? Is it the solitude? Or am I imagining a connection?

Allowing curiosity to guide me, I researched to discover the answer to my question. As it turns out, there are reasons why creativity sparks while we shower.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower title meme

Creating an Environment for Creativity

Several factors come together in the shower, creating the perfect environment for flashes of creativity, ahas and problem solving.

I’ve noticed that there are four scenarios that ramp up the creative sections of my brain. Ranking them from least likely to spark creativity to most likely, they are:

  • driving alone in the car
  • when I’m in the alpha state between sleep and wakefulness, and similarly, when I’m in a relaxed, meditative state
  • walking in nature, alone
  • showering

The commonalities between those scenarios are solitude, no distractions, a relaxed state of mind and genuine happiness. Take away any of those factors and I am much less likely to come up with something clever or profound.

That’s why driving in the car is less conducive to creativity. On a gorgeous day, when traffic is light, my music is playing and I don’t have pressing appointments or a need for speed, my mind generates wonderful ideas. Throw in heavy rain, backed up traffic and urgency and I get nothing. In fact, I’m so focused on driving or weather conditions that music is a distraction that must be silenced.

And that is another consideration. The more intensely we focus on creativity or coming up with solutions, the more evasive they might become.

We’ve all experienced trying to remember a name or wracking our brains for information that eludes us. We give up and go into the kitchen to bake cupcakes and suddenly, 15 minutes later, the name or the info pops into our heads. When we stop trying so hard, what we seek surfaces.

Here are the reasons a shower helps as well.


Solitude in the Shower

Admittedly, we are not always alone in the shower. It’s no surprise that creativity tends to avoid us during shared showers. However, showering alone creates the first step in ramping up creativity.

There’s no one else to listen to, tend to, carry on conversations with. We can sing if we feel like it, talk to ourselves or simply savor the silence. Alone we disconnect from everyone and everything else for a few minutes, except for the spray of hot water and the routine of shampooing hair and scrubbing skin.

Additionally, while showering we are not scrolling through Facebook or answering texts or posting to Instagram. Our outer world narrows down while our inner awareness and consciousness expands, creating the perfect incubator for fresh ideas.

And in that shower stall, we are less likely to encounter distractions.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Solitude creates space for creativity to emerge.

Free From Distractions

The small shower space insulates us from the outside world for a short time. Distractions that shift our attention disappear. This frees the mind to roam and flit from idea to idea, which is a great way to birth something amazing. Free from distractions, the brain gathers thoughts and ideas and connects them in interesting new ways.

The subconscious that busied itself problem solving can surface as the mind wanders, bringing solutions into awareness for consideration.

And the shower is an excellent location for daydreaming.  It’s the perfect time to wonder “what if?” and follow curiosity to see where it leads. With no one to judge our thoughts or ridicule our ideas, we can dream big and relax into the realm of unlimited possibilities.

No Distractions
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? No distractions.

A Relaxed State of Mind

The sound and warmth of the water, the clean scent of shampoo and the simple routine of showering soothe the mind into a relaxed state. The prefrontal cortex…the brain’s command center for decisions, goals and behavior…relaxes, clearing away old thought pathways while creating new ones.

Ideas arise that the conscious mind might otherwise dismiss. Crazy ideas, outrageous flashes of creativity and huge, scary possibilities form. The more we open to the “what ifs”, the bigger the ideas get.

I personally believe that the flow of water contributes to generating ideas while we are in a relaxed state of mind. Flowing water surrounds us in positive energy. It’s why the ocean inspires and waterfalls energize. In that small shower space, with water flowing over us, the mind that is open and relaxed is receptive to creativity.

When we are relaxed the brain responds by increasing the happiness factor.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower relaxation
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We experience a relaxed state of mind.

Increased Happiness

While it’s not the strongest source of creativity, higher levels of happiness do spark creativity. Warm, relaxing showers encourage the brain to release the feel-good happiness hormone, dopamine. The more dopamine flowing through us, the more creative we become.

Dopamine also triggers alpha waves that ripple through the brain. They appear to increase creativity levels. And as a bonus, that blast of dopamine creates euphoria. When we are euphoric, we feel like we can pursue and develop creative ideas, even the wilds ones that push us beyond our comfort zones.

Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We feel happy.

Capturing Creative Ideas

I love that the idea for this post came to me in the shower. The questions that accompanied the idea activated curiosity, which led me to answers.

It’s important to act on the ideas we receive. Muse loves an active partner to co-create with. Capture ideas and look through them often, expanding on them until one takes hold and compels action.

My favorite form of keeping track of ideas is a simple notebook. I fill pages with all manner of creative ideas. As they develop and become goals or intentions, I transfer them into my planner and add them to digital vision boards.

I also use the voice dictation feature on my phone to capture ideas when I’m driving and the notes app is handy too. A small journal on my bedside table allows me to jot down ideas that arrive in the middle of the night.

Researching for this post, I discovered a wonderful item called Aqua Notes. These waterproof notepads with pens mount in the shower! Never lose a wonderful idea again.

Barry Kaufman, a cognitive scientist and co-author of “Wired to Create” , found during a study that 72% of the population receive creative ideas in the shower.

I am in that 72%. Are you? What’s the best creative idea you’ve had while showering?


Click on image to order your Aqua Notepad!


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Spider Wisdom

I appreciate how even when I am not getting something immediately, the Divine keeps sending me messages. I have had a repetitive strand the last few days, that became more obvious today. And yet…I moved through my full day, asking what I should be paying attention to, asking how we should play, wondering what I would be writing about tonight. 

The images and thoughts that popped into my head were dismissed…until this afternoon when I suddenly realized how often I was encountering spiders, and spider webs. 

Spider Wisdom
Most people that I know dislike spiders, and a few are intensely frightened by them. Not me. I have always had a fascination and an appreciation for these little eight legged critters. In fact, as a child I used to claim a few of the garden varieties as pets, checking on them in their elaborate webs each day, tossing them flies, and talking to them as I watched them weave with gossamer threads. 

I have arachnid houses in my garden. I view the spiders as allies in reducing the number of harmful pests. The delicate white glass spider pictured above was a guest that I photographed as she rested among my lavender plants a couple of years ago. She was beautiful. This week I’ve been careful not to disturb spiders as I water in the garden, avoiding their intricate webs stretched across corners and clustered close to the ground among plants. 

Spider Wisdom
My awareness came up today, finally, after a little black jumping spider appeared in my car. He was harmless, but I started thinking about how frequently I was encountering his kind. A Facebook post from 2013 has appeared in my newsfeed for the last seven mornings, via the Memory Function. The accompanying photo features a spider web. 

Spider Wisdom

In that short piece I wrote about replacing fear with curiosity. “Fear stops you cold. Curiosity opens a way through,” I wrote. The words were true then…and they are true today. I decided to follow curiosity and research the symbolism around the spider. Because I don’t believe anything happens randomly, I wanted to see what message the spiders were bringing to me. 

I discovered that the spider is an important symbol in many cultures. I felt drawn to the Celtic stories about the spider. The Celts attribute three characteristics to the spider: The Bard is the Artist, the weaver of dreams and webs, The Ovate is the Seer, who brings fresh perspectives to life, and The Druid is the Teacher of wisdom. 

I can see those elements currently at work in my life. And I have a very strong intuition that I call my spider sense. It is like I have an invisible web extending around me, and when something brushes against that energy, I feel it. I pick up information about that person or event, energetically. However, this is not something new in my life. I have always possessed a spider sense. 

Spider Wisdom
What is this new awareness, that is so profound that it has literally smacked me in the face? A week ago, I was bit by a spider, on the chin. Missouri only has two poisonous spiders…the black widow and the brown recluse. I have both around my house. I’ve never been bitten by the black widow. I have been bitten many times by the brown recluse. Some people have a severe reaction to the venom of the recluse. My first bite took a year to recover from. However, I have built up a resistance to the venom. I can safely treat the bites at home without lasting ill effects. 

Except…this is my first bite on my face. And I should say bites, as I ended up with four distinct and painful bumps around my chin. I have not felt my best. And yet, I have healed, following my established protocol. Today the bites are almost gone and I feel much better. Although I will have my son-in-law the pest exterminator over to spray for them, I don’t resent the spiders. 

Spider Wisdom
Instead, I remained curious today, and open. What is spider telling me? What message is spider sharing by showing up so frequently in my life, and getting “in my face”?. 

These words from whatismyspiritanimal.com spoke strongly to me and answered my questions. 

Oh, Wild One. Because you’re here seeking the wisdom of Spider energy, magic, and medicine, it’s a sign your higher self is guiding you toward a deep understanding of your place and purpose in this life.

Each strand of Spider’s web connects to another, creating a whole, safe space in which you can feed your spirit. Spider knows, however, that anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. You cannot rush enlightenment. Reawakening your soul’s knowledge of the Great Mysteries can truly become a life-time’s pilgrimage.

Spider bears a message about light, darkness and the delicate balance between the two. We as humans sometimes forget there is a special beauty and power to the shadow self. By understanding that side of our being we come to embrace the light all the more fervently.

No one is perfect. Spider lets you examine your imperfections from a different perspective – one focused on creating transformation from within.

I love that message and I will take it to heart. I love that it begins, Oh, Wild One. I am feeling wild and free. I am expanding my creativity and my spirituality and my spider sense. I am becoming more aware and creating transformation from within. I am feeling connected to the spirit world. I am grateful for all the messages that the Divine sends to me and all the ways those messages arrive. 

Today, I am hearing from Spider and learning deep truths that will guide me and acquiring immense wisdom. May I continue to be an apt student. 

Spider Wisdom