| Sent Wednesday 20th of September
I tracked my day once: Eight hours sleeping. Five hours working. Nine hours on screens. Two hours talking to people. Two hours outside. Five hours listening to music. 50 minutes miscellaneous activities (showering, cooking etc). 40 minutes commuting.
Zero minutes going ‘inside’. Zero.
And this is not unusual. This is a typical day for most people around the world (I probably work less than most!).
We fill EVERY, SINGLE, WAKING, MOMENT with a stimulus of some description. We are always trying to distract our brain with something.
Nothing sums this up better than the Shower Thoughts Subreddit. A community that writes and reads ‘thoughts, ideas, or philosophical questions that race through your head when in the shower.’
It’s quite the phenomenon. There are currently approximately 20 million subscribers to that particular subreddit and their content gets shared furiously around the web in posts, memes, videos and articles.
The number one shower thought within this online community as I write this is:
‘Whoever created the tradition of not seeing the bride in the wedding dress beforehand saved countless husbands everywhere from hours of dress shopping and will forever be a hero to all men.’
Number five is what I regard personally as a perfect piece of insight:
‘Everyone hates being sung happy birthday to, and everyone hates singing happy birthday, so what the fuck are we doing here?’
And the classic:
‘Go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning’ is the human version of ‘Did you turn it off and turn it back on again?’
These are the comical ones, the ones that people delight in sharing and chuckling at. But you understand the concept. When you have a shower, you come up with interesting ideas or insights. ‘I could do this today to save time at work,’ ‘I should call so and so, I need to apologise,’ or ‘It’s time to quit my job and try something new.’
The question is, why are shower thoughts a thing? Why is it we come up with these insightful, curious and interesting ideas whilst we’re in the shower?
The answer is simple: as modern humans, we spend almost 100% of our day distracting ourselves from our inner thoughts with phones, screens, music, books, other people and anything else we can find. The shower is often the one small respite from that. That precious 10 minutes we experience with no distractions, white noise and ambient temperature is often the only time we are alone with our thoughts. (Try turning the light off for an even better experience!)
We don’t enjoy going inside. We don’t enjoy sitting alone with our thoughts. We’re afraid of confronting the broken parts of ourselves in there. It’s far easier just to ignore them and just keep powering through our lives with reckless abandon. Yet, many of the greatest scholars from throughout history will tell you, that’s where the growth is, that’s where the contentment is – inside.
So I dare you – this week – find some time, just five minutes per day, to find some quiet and sit down with your thoughts. You’ll be amazing what starts popping up, releasing, understanding or even sending you in exciting new directions.