Since my days as a competitive swimmer, I’ve come to associate water with reflection. I’ve long since replaced my Speedos with sneakers, so nowadays, many of my truly original thoughts come—somewhat regrettably—from quality time in the shower. I say regrettably because the water crisis is all-too real, and the point of showering is to get clean and get on with your day, not to solve the mysteries of the human condition. But, for the sake of posterity, I’ll just go ahead and say it: I came up with the idea of magnetic wallpaper in the shower. If that isn’t an innovation for the history books, I don’t know what is.
“Fixation forgetting” is the scientific term for the process our brain undergoes when in the shower (or doing an equally low-focus, repetitive activity like driving or cooking) that allows our mind to wander in unique, ungovernable ways. In these situations, your prefrontal cortex of the brain (that part mainly responsible for cognition) is able to reset and connect with other regions in ways it does not when you are in a more focused, brainstorming mode.
The only problem, other than the aforementioned water waste, is that much of the time these great ideas evaporate along with the steam in your bathroom; shower-thoughts are as slippery as they come. To better encourage both quicker revelation and recall in your bathing routine, here are some products for the water-baby genius in you:
Hinoki Home Aroma Mist
Phytoncides (essential oils derived from wood) have been found to promote relaxation, lower blood pressure, and may even possess anti-carcinogenic qualities. This why the hinoki cypress is so prized in Japanese bathing practices. A spritz or two of this atomized mist throughout your bathroom pre-shower may not actually take you Kyoto, but you can close your eyes and drift away on the scent at the very least.
Le Labo Anis 24 Candle
If setting the mood is more important the spritzing your way to mindfulness (it is for me—shower-by-candlelight, FTW), consider Le Labo’s Anis 24 candle, which is scented with equally relaxing, euphoria-inducing anise oil. It's meant to evoke a glass of pastis enjoyed outdoors in seaside Marseille on a summer’s day.
Klar’s Rosemary Soap
Once you’re ready to commence cleansing, Klar’s fresh-scented Rosemary Soap should sharpen your wits. Rosemary oil has been found to counteract mental fatigue and aid memory. The bar also benefits from some pretty wonderful Teutonic-style packaging (Mountainscapes! Think big!).
Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo
When your hair and mind are in equal need of clarification, turn to Frederic Fekkai. Post-grads out there might remember reading that eating an apple while cramming for an exam will help you earn a higher grade if you have the same snack on test day. Apparently, the fruit’s crisp scent improves learning efficiency and recall. If finals are but a happy memory, try giving this hack a test drive in the shower. When you let your hair down later in the day, maybe all those elusive ideas you had while shaving will come flooding back to you!
If all else fails, turn to the suction-mounted waterproof notebook. Maybe a little nerdy, but it’s a far better and much more analog solution than bringing your iPhone into the bathroom.
Photo by ITG. While you're at it, here are Five Shower Upgrades You Don’t Need New Plumbing For.