Have You Showered Today?
Why the relaxing flow of warm water is so critical to your creative flow
Have you ever just had an amazing thought while in the shower? Like outta nowhere, something just …clicks?
I know I have. It’s my belief that we all need more of that. I’ll explain.
This is reference to over the years in working with everyone from top performance athletes, to stay at home moms, creatives and regular nine-to-fivers that how unbelievably “turned on” and “connected” we are seemingly ALL THE TIME. Our creativity is suppressed when we’re in a state of fear-based, fight, flight or freeze so if you want to bust down the walls of writers block, feel more compelled to start that home reno project or just generally build more tolerance, patience and happiness into your life this one’s for you.
Here’s the science:
Sympathetic Nervous System
This system is known as the stressor response centre. Think of it as an angsty teenager, wild with raging hormones, running a million miles an hour oftentimes without any purpose or direction, just fuelled to conflict. We frequently refer this response in our body as the “fight, flight or freeze” response. Sound familiar?
In a nutshell, when we experience a stressor - be it physical, chemical, electro-magnetic, mental, nutritional or thermal, we produce stress hormones that send our body into a state ready to fight or take off and engage. Ordinarily pretty helpful back in primitive times when our ancestors had to run from a bear or chase down a meal. However, in today’s day and age, some of us are running nearly 24/7 on this feeling and that has a negative impact towards our productivity, creativity and happiness.
Here’s the science:
We can likely agree whether you’re in the music industry or not, creativity is a competitive advantage in all respects when it comes to both personal and professional life. In a study conducted on frontline workers by Grewal, Levy, and Kumar 2009; Verhoef et al. 2009 creative employees [were found to be] more likely to uncover customers’ latent needs, to develop a good rapport with customers, and to solve their service problems creatively and effectively, ultimately creating a superior experience.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
So what happens when mom and dad step in and settle their rowdy teenager? Well, think of them as the voice of reason, slowing all the craziness, calming down the teen and perhaps enforcing a “You’re grounded” when things are really out of hand. No cell phone. No sleepovers. No fun. Sad times for the kid, but critical to prevent them from causing more harm to themselves or others around them. This is essentially the role of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The PNS, as my dad would say, is a sweet reminder to “cool your jets” or make like Frankie and “relax’.
Importance of Relaxation
When we relax, we allow our creative flow to begin. The brain moves from “Beta” waves associated with that fight, flight or freeze response into slower, “Alpha” waves common place for the creative process to really get poppin’. So what’s this gotta do with a shower?
I return to my original question. Ever had some sort of amazing thought while soaking up the heat of a nice hot, relaxing shower. You probably had that thought buried inside. However, in the fury of conscious thought Beta waves, our mind isn’t able to drop out, check out and imagine as effectively (or at all, for that matter). So once we chill the eff out and induce Alpha waves, our creativity is given free-reign to explore everything that we shut ourselves off from in order to get daily tasks and essential functions done. Hence, showers can be considered an important dose of creativity.
Here are two other ways to chill, stay productive and inspire creativity.
Go For A Walk!
A study conducted out of Stanford in 2007 found that daily walking significantly improves cognitive function. Specifically, the study showed that walking increased creative inspiration 60% vs. sitting. This was for as little as 5-16 minutes and showed to enhance “divergent thinking”. Which for us music-makers and creative types is an invaluable competitive advantage.
Listen, I get it. We live in a society that oftentimes feels like we should always be moving, hustling and go, go, go. I simply ask you to consider another angel of slowing things down, allowing yourself the time and space to work effectively and with habits that foster the creative process. Atmosphere can make or break the creative spirit. There are ways to make sure you’re in the right environment too, once you’ve instilled the relaxation methods I’ve listed below. As many creatives moonlight with other entrepreneurial endeavours it’s important to find a workspace that suits your mission of free-flow creative thought. Co-working spaces are a hot ticket right now and I’ve included my favourite option in the GTA, NUVO Network, where I’m actually coming to you from, right now. This space has a warm vibe, inviting and inclusive culture and the ability to get up, bounce some ideas off other freelancers, connect with and network on similar projects and perhaps the most important part, an endless supply of local brewsters, Relay Coffee. It’s surprising what an amazing culture and good positive vibes can do to help me get the most out of my work day. Check them out if you’re in the GTA.
Please comment below with ways that you’ve hacked your creativity to maximize your productivity, and please share any co-working spaces or spots you find beneficial to inspiring your creativity.
Til next time, stay sweet.