Take a shower

"I do some of my best songwriting when I'm in the shower. Probably a third of the songs I wrote came from my showers. Like the song 'hot in herre'," says Pharrell Williams. It's interesting to hear that a lot of his creative magic happens in the shower. But why is it the case from a scientific point of view? 

Ron Friedman, a cognitive scientist described a study he did showing that 72% of people get creative ideas in the shower. He said "The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, and causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams. It's one of those few moments when we're not tied to our devices, so we have that extra space to find connections between ideas. If we're not allowing that to happen in our lives, it's just never going to work." You have to understand as long something is happening, something new, important, exciting, potentially dangerous, our brains are completely focused and there is no space for drifting away, which kinda makes sense if you think about it. On the other hand, a certain part of our brain regions will not get activated in these moments which is known as the "Default Mode Network" or "Offline Network". These parts of the brain usually get activated when we are daydreaming like in the shower. In these moments there is usually not a specific problem we are trying to solve, so there is enough space for the thinking to flow in totally different directions and the brain connects thoughts and ideas we otherwise wouldn't connect with each other. And you come up with these "aha moments". 

In Pharrell's case, it's also important to note that he has synesthesia which makes it possible for him to see colors whenever he hears sounds. Synesthesia is quite the creative booster in the shower as Pharrell says: “What gives me meditation is the shower. When I get in the shower, because of something called sensory deprivation – when one of your senses is being blocked, it allows your mind to wander and be imaginative. So when I’m in the shower, the water blocks out the sound, so it makes me imagine things." Good for him. For all the rest, being in the shower without synesthesia is already a good place to let your creativity flow.

© Karim Mustaghni

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