There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to Shower Thoughts and is all about “sharing those miniature epiphanies you have that highlight the oddities within the familiar.” Whether we’re talking about midlife crises, gummy worms, or extra-terrestrial species, this powerhouse with more than 23.6m members is a collection of truly impressive insights.
We have taken some of their best posts that might leave you pondering all day long, so make sure to check them out below.
Since its creation in 2011, the subreddit has been growing into one of the most popular pages on the whole platform. According to the moderators, “‘Showerthought’ is a loose term that applies to the types of thoughts you might have while carrying out a routine task like showering, driving, or daydreaming.”
These flashes of genius are universally relatable and can let you in on the most amusing things within the mundane. Usually, when you think of such unexpected insights, you find yourself in certain circumstances: a familiar environment with no people to interrupt you and no devices to bother you.
As your body and mind relax, the overwhelming number of thoughts that are racing through your head start to slowly fade away. This gives an opportunity for brilliant ideas to appear as if by magic.
We reached out to Nancy K. Napier, Ph.D., a Distinguished Professor at Boise State University (USA) and author of Unfolding Curiosity who has published widely on creativity and innovation. She was kind enough to have a little chat with us about the realizations we get while taking a shower.
When asked about the power of a shower and why is it considered to be a perfect place for the eureka effect, the professor told us that the reason behind it is simply because it’s an enclosed space, with warm comforting water, where you do something you don’t have to think about.
“As you wash yourself for those three or five or ten minutes, you can let your mind wander and that’s often when an idea will hit. Also, during these times when we’re with our families in shutdowns, it might be one of the few chances to be alone with your thoughts,” she explained.
According to Napier, it can be hard to allow your thoughts to drift because we usually have some sort of information—music, podcasts, radio—coming into our minds most of the day. “To have the experience of a wandering mind, we need to intentionally turn OFF the extra information and think about nothing.”
However, the shower is not the only place where brilliant ideas can come to us. There are more ways humans can let their minds go free: “I read recently that taking a walk is another great place for ideas, but the key is to simply walk. Leave the radio and podcasts at home.”
“Then, while walking, look in three places and ideas will come: look above eye level (at buildings, trees), look straight ahead and look on the ground,” Napier told us. She also mentioned that she tried it last week and came away with two new creative thoughts.
Hearing other people’s shower realizations attracts a lot of attention: “Many of us are looking for ways to do things differently to get better, which is the ultimate goal of creativity.” The professor said that we can always gain something from another person’s idea, and the most wonderful part of it is “that we can always generate new ones.”
“Lots of people have noted that we no longer allow ourselves to become bored. Laying on grass and watching the clouds go by seems to be less common and yet it’s another simple way to generate ideas,” Napier mentioned.
There’s a saying that creativity is like a muscle. If you want to become more innovative, you have to train it right. And as we found out, one way of achieving this goal is by simply doing… nothing. Nancy K. Napier leaves us with one encouraging thought for the next year: “Here’s to setting aside 30 minutes a week to let yourself be bored in 2022!”