Alice Flaherty, one of the most renowned neuroscientists researching creativity has an answer for us when it comes to why you get your best ideas in the shower. An ingredient that's very important for us to be creative is dopamine: The more dopamine that is released, the more creative we are.
Typical triggers for events, that make us feel great and relaxed and therefore give us an increased dopamine flow are taking a warm shower, exercising, driving home, etc. The chances of having great ideas then are a lot higher.
Especially if you have thought long and hard all day about a problem, jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the "incubation period" for your ideas. The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind.
Lastly, after you have received an influx in dopamine, can be easily distracted by an extremely habitual task like showering or cooking, a relaxed state of mind is absolutely important to be creative.
Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease, we're more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we're trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights.
That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day. It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our e-mail, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been their all along, we just weren’t listening.
1.dopamine n. 多巴胺
2.incubation n. 孵化
3.influx n. (人、资金或事物的)涌入
4.emanate v. 表现；散发
5.hemisphere n. (球体的、地球的、大脑的)半球