You may shower or wait for the bus and eureka! – a golden idea pops up in your head.
You can solve this problem at work, understand something that has been annoying you for months … or maybe even the meaning of life. But what opens up these moments of clarity?
Research shows that you are more likely to experience creative revelation if you do something monotonous. Remember to do the dishes, exercise or shower.
This is because these routine behaviors require less thought and free your subconscious to work on something else.
Scientifically, this type of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex – the brain's command center for behavior and decision making.
It also turns on the rest of your brain's "standard mode network" (DMN) and clears the paths that connect different areas of your gray matter.
Because your prefrontal cortex relaxes and energizes your DMN, your brain can make new, innovative connections that your conscious mind would have ignored.
This aha! Moments are more difficult to achieve at work because thinking about a problem disables your DMN but strengthens control of your prefrontal cortex.
This is what strengthens your focus and gives you the opportunity to avoid all these distracting memes – but it also means that your brain tends to censor creative ideas.
Switching to autopilot while lathering up in the shower may be just what you need to get your genius out!