Showering With Your Eyes Closed Has An Unexpected Effect On Your Brain Health

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Everyday activities like showering, brushing your teeth, and driving to work are functional things we do to get us through the day. Some might even say that they are so routine that we don't think much about them while doing them. And if we want to focus on physical health, we'd throw in exercise and healthy eating.

What about brain health? Is it just sudoku, online memory tests, and remembering phone numbers that keep your memory sharp? Turns out, there's something more real-life we can be doing that can help boost different neural connections, thereby resulting in better memory power (via The Healthy). According to neurobiologist and author of the book, "Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness," Lawrence C. Katz, it is something you can do every single day while in the shower — get in the shower as you normally would but keep your eyes closed the entire time. 

By "seeing" with your hands, nose, and ears, you're essentially exercising new areas of your brain than you would if you had your eyes open in the shower. Add that to the list of cool things you never knew about your brain

These are called neurobic exercises

What Lawrence C. Katz is suggesting in showering with your eyes closed is one exercise among many others, called neurobic exercises, exercises that use the five senses — taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound — in a new way to boost your brain's memory power. 

While one of them involves something you can do when you take a shower every day, there are others like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, taking a different route to work, changing up your morning routine, turning pictures in your home upside down on the wall for a few days, walking down different aisles at the supermarket, or introducing your nose to new smells, etc. that can be added to the list. 

Your brain tends to atrophy when it's not learning new things, the section chief of the Geriatric and Memory Center at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Robert Bender, shared via Everyday Health. The idea is to challenge your brain to work differently than it has been when you're focused on maintaining a routine — giving it space to grow and flex its muscles. And it's not hard to see why this works. Just like strength training or any other form of physical exercise that pushes you out of your comfort zone and eventually leads to physical benefits, your brain reacts similarly when it's challenged to work out something different based on the senses and what they are communicating to it.    

How to shower with your eyes closed

If you're apprehensive about having your eyes closed in the shower, you can try what two-time winner of the U.S.A. Memory Championship Ron White suggested to Men's Health – do the brain exercise while in the kitchen and washing dishes, for example. Feel around with your hands for the dishes, dish soap, and sponge, and take in the sensations as you search for the tap and feel the water running down your fingers. "It will break your routine and engage your senses," White offered. 

As for closing your eyes while in the shower, you can either choose to go the whole nine yards of stripping off your clothes, getting in the tub or shower cubicle, adjusting the water pressure and temperature, and proceeding to take a shower — all with your eyes closed. Or, you can just do the showering bit with your peepers shut and keep them open for when you get in and out of the shower area (for safety's sake). Either way, the important thing is to engage your senses. Take in what you're feeling with your hands — the soap, your body, the lather, and water, and smell and feel the different sensations. Your brain and memory power will thank you once you're done.