Time and time again, I find my best ideas come in the shower. If a problem has been bugging me throughout the day, or if I lack inspiration, a shower almost always helps.

Do Your Best Ideas Come in the Shower?

I know I’m not the only one. Cognitive Scientist Scott Barry Kaufman did a study that found 72% of people get creative ideas in this particular location. He said, “We did a multinational study and found that people reported more creative inspiration in their showers that they did at work.”

Why is this the case? Showers are a safe place that provides “a dopamine high, relaxed state, and distracted mind,” factors that are ideal for the creativity and idea formation. Dopamine, critical to creativity, is released when we’re relaxed, feeling great, listening to music, exercising, and yes, taking a shower.

But, on top of dopamine, showers provide a chance to be distracted and give you, as one Harvard researcher puts it, the “break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.” Ideas need to marinate, bake, and form before they move forward. Showers provide the time that takes.

Why Does This Matter?

Well, for one, all of us need to keep a notepad near the shower door at all times. But, for me, it also helps me think about the way I go about my life as a whole.

Perhaps the reason why most of my creativity comes in the shower is that I’m not allowing space during the rest of day to let my mind wander and daydream. My day often feels like it is stuffed from the moment I wake up till the time I go to bed.

Mind you, it’s not always stuffed with important or critical things. Many times the focus is on a screen where I’m scrolling through something. I find myself having a lack of breathing room. Maybe you do too. Often the only place where I’m not surrounded by a screen is in the shower because that could get dangerous – or at least costly.

Replicating that Focused Environment

As I get this year going, I’m hoping to work more balance and space into my life. A shower is great, but, let’s face it, you can’t be in there all day. Here’s what I scribbled down to get more concrete about making space:

  • I want to wake up before the kids to have at least a half hour of screen-free time.
  • I want to walk around outside more.
  • I want to listen to good, inspirational music.
  • When it’s not necessary or important, I want to get away from my desk more often.
  • When my kids are playful and silly, I want to join in more.
  • I want to turn my phone off after 8 pm.

In an overstuffed world, space and daydreams are important. Finding time isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. So, in the name of creativity, heat up the water, turn off the phone, and discover something new – you might just be one shower away from your next great idea!

Photo by David Cohen on Unsplash
Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash


Have you found that your best ideas come in the shower? Here's why it matters and why in an overstuffed world, space and daydreaming are important.