Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The Neuroscience Of Creativity – Why All Your Best Ideas Come In The Shower

The process of creativity is elusive. We would all like to understand what magically seems to happen for those ‘creative’ people.

Are they just naturally wired to be more creative?

(Image credit @jshnaa)

(Image credit @jshnaa)

Having an understanding of what happens in our brain during the creative process can help give us insights that can increase our creativity when we need it.

And answer the question – How come all your best ideas come in the shower?

The neuroscience of creativity used to be simply explained by left and right hemispheres of the brain – the left was more logical and rational, and right was more creative. Therefore if you are a ‘creative’ person, people called you ‘right-brained’. But we’ve now come to understand that this understanding of the creative brain is not only too simple, its also wrong.

The creative process seems to activate the association cortex in the brain – integrating lots of different parts of the brain.

So when you have an insight, that ‘a-ha’ moment of creativity, your brain has related previously unconnected bits of information.



Stage 1 – Preparation & Inspiration: in this stage you are deciding what you are wanting to achieve, in what time frame, & identifying what ideas you currently have.

The best things to do in this stage is brainstorm: brain-dump all your ideas onto paper, forget about perfection and just get the ideas out there.

This stage relies on your executive brain (prefrontal cortex). It is your best friend when it comes to planning, thinking & reasoning; but it has limited fuel. Once that fuel has run out, you feel like you have no more good ideas left.

The part of the brain that aided you in the beginning (prefrontal cortex) is now hindering you.


Stage 2 – Incubation: Leave the project and walk away. Do something completely unrelated – go for a walk, watch a movie, go to sleep, have a shower. Allow your mind to wander.

When you do something unrelated (like taking a shower), you are activating the association network.  Now that you have imputed lots of different information into your brain using the prefrontal cortex, the brain now relates these previously unconnected bits of information together and produces….


Stage 3 – Insight: all of a sudden the most amazing right answer pops into your head – almost out of nowhere. You feel like the magical creative genius of the world & have great confidence that you have found the thing you have been searching for.


So next time you need to be creative and feel blocked, it might be a good idea to go jump in the shower!

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.