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What do you think about in the Shower?

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Are you savouring the small things in life?

So I was watching my wife taking a shower the other day (hey, it's not perving if you're married), and she seemed to be enjoying her bathtime IMMENSELY.

She spent a solid ten minutes in the steaming hot shower, going very slowly through her routine of lathering herself with soap, rinsing it off, shampooing nearly every single strand of hair on her head, rinsing it off, then conditioning her hair, and rinsing it off. All the while, she hummed softly to an unknown tune.

It took her a while before she noticed my face peeping through the bathroom door.

"Wow. You seem to really be enjoying this", I said.

She replied, "Of course, what's there not to like?".

This got me thinking, of course, about what most people think about in the shower.

Some pop lifestyle-ish research actually ran a survey, asking people, "What do you think about while taking a shower?"

What did the typical person say? Why, the answer shouldn't surprise you at all. He or she ran through her to-do list for the day ahead! Simple enough, and that's what I do in my showers too.

I'm a trained fireman when it comes to showering. Shower times for me is all about spraying water to get rid of the bad stuff as fast as possible. I get in, hose myself down. Spread shokubutsu soap all over my body in a matter of seconds, rub some shampoo on my head, then hose everything off in one go.

In a matter of two minutes, I'm as clean as a whistle (I think?).

In those two minutes though, my mind is free to wander. Likewise, I think about what I need to do in the day ahead, or if I'm showering at night, what I need to do tomorrow. Many times, I'm thinking about the article that I'm planning to write.

Another group of people describe showers as a time of creativity. They describe their thought patterns during a shower as having shower thoughts.

You might have experienced this.

Your body goes into auto-pilot mode, allowing your mind to roam aimlessly. During this time of unconscious, random pondering, your mind suddenly has an AHA moment. You've miraculously arrived at some creative solution to a problem you've been struggling with, or even thought of a book or business idea.

Psychology has even gone on to study how you can apply this kind of solutioning outside of the shower. However, that's not the point of this article.

Rather, my question is:

Who's making the best use of shower time?

There are three contenders so far:

  1. Me: efficient and using this time to organise the day ahead.

  2. The creatives: using shower time for the AHA moment.

  3. My wife: simply enjoying her time in her shower.

Which is your pick? As someone who interested in the science of wellbeing and happiness, I unfortunately have to give it to my wife. She wins. This time at least.

You see, showers are neither a chore nor are they a time to do your thinking. To-do lists are important, but can't they wait until I'm back at my desk and ready to take action? Should I start bringing a paper and pen into the shower and start ticking things off? That's ridiculous of course.

Showers are inherently pleasurable. They are one of the many instances of our day that we can simply relax, away from any distractions, and enjoy the time to ourselves.

It's the same as enjoying our commute to work, instead of rushing around like a headless chicken or obsessing over what you need to do in the next few hours. It's the same as enjoying a meal, instead of using that time to catch up on your show.

These are all little things that we might have taken for granted, when really, they are simply enjoyable in itself. So why don't more of us just take the time to slow down and enjoy them?

Savouring the little enjoyable things in life.

Research in savouring by the Psychologist Fred Bryant is very clear - savouring the small things in life can help you become happier. Intuitively, this reasoning is simple. The more you take time to enjoy the little things in life, the more your day will be filled with bits and bobs of happy things.

You can best savour a pleasurable experience by taking the time to deeply enjoy it, instead of distracting yourself with something else. Try it with this two-step process. Simply label the emotions you're feeling, and then give each of your senses a turn at enjoying that experience.

So the next time I'm jumping in the shower, I'm going to leave all other thoughts at the door. I'm going to feel relaxed, and then I'll take time to use all of my senses while showering. I'm going to enjoy the nice warm feeling of water on my body, smell the aroma of the soap as I lather my armpits, listen to the music of the water running, and savour the view of my little toilet sanctuary.

I'm missing out taste here, but that's okay, I'll reserve that for when it comes to savouring edible things.

Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. Wishing you many enjoyable warm showers.


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