Is there creativity in shampoo?
So it’s 6am, and I’m waking up ahead of a day in the office.
I check my phone and somehow between switching off at 11pm last night and 6am this morning I have received 20 emails, 5 meeting invitations and 2 new pitch briefs. The early morning stress starts to set in as I lay in bed wondering how on earth am I going to come up with a set of fresh new ideas for the day ahead.
Like most professionals you lay in bed and truly consider the meaning of life whilst answering the most important questions; do I really need this job, can I survive Bear Grylls style in the wild, what would my tree house look like?
Before you know it your second alarm is going off, it’s 6:15am and it’s time to jump in the shower.
Hot water tap clockwise 90°, cold water tap anti-clockwise 50° and I step into the shower. With the perfect-temperature water now flowing over my head I pause and revisit the day’s creative challenges, sans caffeine I try and squeeze just one idea out of my head but nothing happens, where I am going to find the creativity to solve these challenges?
I pick up the shampoo.
As I’m concentrating on my lathering choreography, massaging the shampoo into my scalp, I suddenly feel my synapse firing all kinds of messages around my head. It stops. I continue with my shampoo routine and there it goes again, all sorts of solutions to these creative problems are now becoming clear.
“OH MY GOD”, I think to myself, as I look down at the Tesco’s own brand Tea Tree shampoo, “have I accidently stumbled on a secret formula that stimulates creativity in the form of a £1.29 bottle of shampoo?”
Not quite, but as it turns out this experience happens to a lot of us.
Whether we’re in the shower, making a coffee, going for a walk, playing on the playstation, or even when we go to bed we have all experienced fresh ideas and moments of creative genius when we least expect it. But why?
As we know our brains have brainwaves and when the oscillations of those waves are changed we are better able to achieve different tasks.
So did I find a shampoo that altered my brainwaves…not quite.
When I woke up and checked my phone my brain defaulted to a Beta wave, this is often associated with active, busy or anxious thinking and active concentration.
When I stepped into the shower and changed my concentration to shampooing my head the brainwaves required to fulfil this task slowed down and changed from Beta waves to Theta waves.
Theta waves are where you experience vivid visualisations, great inspiration, profound creativity and exceptional insight.*
When you are in a Theta state it is basically like handing your creative tasks to a PA and letting them get on with solving it in the background. Then just like Tinder- when you’re ready to give it all up, a match notification will pop up and the creative idea will be presented.
A study by behavioural and learning scientist Marily Oppezzo found that you can increase your creativity upto 44% simply by walking.**
So in summary when you need to focus on being creative, take your focus for a walk, into the shower or with you whilst you make a coffee because the more you can train your brain to be in a Theta state the more your creative PA will work for you.