Photo by the amazing Austin Neill
I love taking long hot showers.
I admit it.
I feel kind of guilty because I waste a good amount of water, but until now I thought I make up for that by using the shower time productively and planning blog & Instagram posts, making shopping lists and generating content ideas.
Boy, was I wrong.
As you’ll discover from this story I learned that you should never make plans in the shower.
The Blog Post That Was Planned In The Shower
This blog post was planned in the shower. And it was an epic fail. Here’s what happened:
A few months back I was having a hot shower after coming home from grocery shopping on one of the coldest winter days in Turkey. While I was enjoying the steaming water warming up my body and relaxing my muscles, my mind had a different plan.
Or rather, it was making a different plan.
I caught it as it was writing the first paragraph of a blog post about small mindfulness and happiness practices we can do in our daily lives.
And I responded with a smile. I liked the title and I liked where the post was going. I loved it! I thought I’ve had an amazing idea and couldn’t wait to share it with my readers.
But this here, what you’re reading, is NOT the blog post my mind was writing in my head.
After I dried my hair, made a huge walnut milk latte and sat in front of my laptop, WordPress open and all…I heard only one thing: crickets! Now my mind was quiet (it’s naughty like that, my monkey mind).
I was staring at the blank page and couldn’t remember the perfect title my mind had come up with if my life depended on it. I tried several different variations of what I remembered but nothing seemed to click.
The horror continued as I tried to replicate the first few paragraphs that I considered as ready.
I spent an hour staring at that screen but nothing came. Or, rather, many came, but none of them were the exact same words that I’d fallen in love with in the shower.
I felt frustrated. I felt angry. I felt sad.
I knew that what I had back there, in the shower, was the perfect way to say what I wanted to communicate. Not remembering those words felt like I was robbing my readers off something they deserved.
My monkey mind had tricked me again. I could not remember any of the plan I made in the shower!
And then it hit me:
What if I didn’t make plans in the shower? What if I just showered, and I was 100% present?
For one, I would have not lost an hour of my most productive time staring at a screen trying to remember what it was I wanted to say.
Would I have come up with my ideas if I just sat and mindfully planned the blog post?
Yes, I admit it–sometimes we get genius ideas in the shower.
But most of the time, making plans in the shower leaves us feeling like we heard this catchy song on the radio and can not remember its name.
We decrease our brain’s capability to stay present and focused.
And if we fail to remember the plan, we are left feeling incomplete and frustrated.
But you know what they say:
Trick me once, it’s on you,
trick me twice, it’s on me.
So, I took responsibility for that monkey mind of mine. I decided to find a way to stop it from making plans in the shower and frustrating me with not remembering any of the notes!
And I’m proud to say I found a solution!
How To Trick Your Shower Monkey Mind
The odds are that if you’re anything like me, you find it near impossible to be mindful in such a mundane, although pleasant activity, like taking a shower. Especially after an exhausting day, a hot shower was my relaxation, and my safe space to analyze and plan.
The habit was so strong, that as soon as I turned on the hot water and heard the sound of the water on the tiles, my monkey mind would start working, knowing that the body would do its job on autopilot.
So how can you break the habit? How can you use your shower time to actually shower? Mindfully. Present.
Well, I discovered a simple but powerful trick!
I simply close my eyes.
If you’ve lived and showered in the same place for years like I have, you subconsciously know where everything is and you don’t really need your eyes.
The Benefit of Closing Your Eyes
I can talk about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for hours.
But I’ll only tell you that since I’m practicing regularly, that is I’m mindful of mindfulness 😀 I’ve changed. And in a good way.
My mother-in-law said so and that’s a pretty big deal in my book.
As a whole, if you’re seeking ways to be happier, experience life more fully, and include more mindfulless practices in your daily life, showering with your eyes closed presents you with a very fun and enjoyable opportunity.
The truth is, our minds are more powerful than we know. Only after a week of showering with my eyes closed I realized that my mind started automating this as well: I was with my eyes closed reaching out for the shower gel, when a thought started sneaking in.
But this time I knew I was stronger than my monkey mind.
I caught the thought, and gracefully put it off for later.
“I’m taking a shower now,”
I said to myself. And my mind was clear again.
Try showering with your eyes closed today and share your experience in the comments! Did you give in to your monkey mind? Did you turn on the wrong switch? Did you shower with shampoo? How did it feel?
I’m so curious to learn more about your experience with this practice!