Improving Your Problem-Solving Skills - Part 3 of 3
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Get Away From the Problem
Has the best idea ever come to your mind when you're sitting in the shower?
This is because a warm shower puts you in a relaxed state releasing endorphins, your frontal lobe shuts off and then your subconscious has a chance to play a bit.
There are two main pathways that the brain can take in order to solve problems. The first path is the analytical path when you are deliberately and systematically taking on a problem to find a particular solution. The second path is the "insight" path. This path is when we come up with a solution seemingly out of nowhere producing the "aha!" moment. These moments happen outside of your conscious stream of thought. Without going into too much detail, imaging experiments of the brain on a problem-solving show that your visual cortex shuts down effectively inducing sensory deprivation, and your right temporal lobe lights up, which is connected to a lot of different areas of the brain.
Psychology professor John Kounios refers to the moment right before you have an "a-ha!" moment as a "brain blink" where you are momentarily less aware of your surroundings, you cut out distractions and focus inwardly allowing your subconscious to make connections between bits of information already stored in the brain. Then "A-HA!" the solution pops up in our conscious mind.
When you take a warm shower, it is like an epiphany incubator - you give your brain an extended "brain blink" allowing greater inward focus
To learn more about this, pick up the book by John Kounios, The Eureka Factor
So what's the takeaway for problem-solving?
When you are facing difficult or tough problems, turn your brain off, take a break, let your mind wander, and give your subconscious a chance to do its thing.
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