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Why Are We More Creative in the Shower?

inspiration in the shower

It sometimes seems as though, for a brief moment, all stresses of life are being washed away while you stand in your shower. With the bathroom door locked, it’s your safe place: a place to think about nothing and everything at the same time. Your mind is at ease as your body feels the warm water cascading over it. Your thoughts start to wander aimlessly as the day ahead draws nearer, but you hold onto the warmth and solitude for just a bit longer. That may be when you have your “aha” moment. Racing out of the shower, you grab a towel, dry your hands, reach for your smartphone on the counter, and prepare an email that starts, “I have this idea for our campaign…”

A study done by Scott Barry Kaufman, a cognitive scientist and author, has shown that 72% of people around the world get their best ideas in the shower. Why is this? Well, when you are unfocused but still attentive to thoughts, your brain processes irrelevant information more easily. These random thoughts include loosely related concepts that can turn into creative ideas. Fertile ground for a flood of sensory information is right under your showerhead. You’re not controlling what you’re thinking about – similar to how your brain functions right before you fall asleep. You’re letting it ebb and flow like water washing over you in the bathtub.

Brainstorming ideas at work with a team is a good process, but it can also get manipulated by groupthink (the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility [Google]). Have you ever become shy or felt discouraged by a group’s response to your ideas? This happens to everyone. A shower is a safe place where no idea is a bad idea. In the study done by Kaufman, more people reported feeling inspired in the shower than at work. How we find creativity and where we go for inspiration is really a tell-tale feature in that report.

As you slouch under the hot stream of water, your mind bounces from thought to thought without doubt or criticism. If you’ve been thinking about a problem for a while, table it for a day. Your mind will subconsciously prepare itself to bring the problem to the forefront of your brain for solving once you allow for relaxation. “You need to create that space in your life, and that’s often what happens when we go into the shower,” says Ron Friedman, psychologist and founder of Ignite80. “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.”

If you aren’t a highly creative person, but a great marketer who needs inspiration, just hop in the shower! Well, don’t hop. We don’t want you to break a bone. That’s happened to us before. Maybe delicately step over the threshold and safely plant your feet on the other side. Yes, there you go. Now, turn on the faucet and start channeling your inspiration.


Koutstaal, Wilma, and Binks, Jonathan T. Innovating Minds: Rethinking Creativity to Inspire Change. Published by Oxford Press.

Smith, Jacquelyn. “72% of People Get Their Best Ideas in the Shower – Here’s Why.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc., 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2016. <>.

“Why We Get Our Most Creative Ideas in the Shower.” The Huffington Post, 1 Apr. 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2016. <