Science has proven why our best ideas come in the shower or on a walk

Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come in the shower or on a walk rather than at your desk where you’ve been trying to solve the same problem for hours?

Well now science has a reason for that and it’s published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience

Research has found that when you perform activities where you’re essentially on autopilot and not thinking much, your mind is able to wander and engage in a stream of consciousness that can help you retrieve new ideas. and access different memories.

In the research, the authors reviewed nearly 200 neuroscience studies, many of which included the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brain during resting activities.

The researchers looked at three different ways people think when they’re not directly engaged in tasks: spontaneous thinking, ruminative thinking, and goal-directed thinking.

They found that when a brain focuses on a specific task, the load on the prefrontal cortex involved in planning and impulse control limits the activity of other parts of the brain.

This includes shutting down the networks that led to daydreaming and imagining.

However, when allowed to be on autopilot, the mind at rest was able to shift from spontaneous thought to constrained thought, allowing you to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions to a problem on which you may have ruminated.

So the next time you’re trying to solve a tough problem at work, leave the office, walk the dog, or take a relaxing shower and see if you can help stimulate the other parts of your brain to help you solve!

Dr. Michelle Dickinson joined the Sunday session to discuss and explain this new research.


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