What Do Negative Ions Have to Do With Your Content Creation?

By Melissa Brown, MD

Creativity, Forest bathing, Negative Ions, serotonin and creativity, shinrin yoku

Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?  You casually step into the shower for, um . . .  a shower! And as the water is pouring over you and you’re relaxing, your mind starts to wander.

You begin to think about lots of things that have been floating in the back of your mind.

Like what you’ll have for your next meal.

Where your next vacation will take you.

And then your online business pops into your thoughts.

Maybe you think about your next product offering. Your next blog post topic. The subject line for your next email to your audience.

And all of this is happening so fast that you’re almost unaware you’ve started having amazingly creative ideas pop into your head.

Lots of ideas!

Great ideas!

I used to think I was the only one having this shower experience but I now know I’m not the only one getting visits from the creativity shower gods.

The Science Behind the Shower Creativity Surge.

Female researcher behind a transparent model of a neuron. Concept of research and study.

It turns out, there’s a scientific explanation for this shower phenomenon.

It’s the negative ions at work.

Negative ions are released by flowing water in the shower. They’re also produced wherever water flows–at waterfalls, during thunderstorms or rain showers, and at the beach.

These negative ions are absorbed into your body. Biochemical reactions are then triggered by these particles inside you.

The end result is the release of the mood-boosting chemical, serotonin. This neurotransmitter improves your mood, boosts energy, and lowers your stress hormones.

So exposure to these negative ions is one of the reasons you feel so good being at the beach, in nature, or your mood may feel lifted after the passing of a summer thunderstorm.

Wanna know another pleasant side-effect of this cascade of reactions from the negative ions?

The presence of all this serotonin is thought to also stimulate the creative areas inside your brain.

Fascinating, huh?

So what can you do to ensure the work of these shower gods doesn’t go to waste?

How To Harness The Gifts of the Shower Gods

You may be getting sparks from the shower gods the shower water’s negative ions and not realizing that’s actually sparking all kinds of creative ideas. Start paying attention to where your thoughts are meandering while you’re in the shower.

Your next big business course, book idea, or group coaching program might come from a visit from the negative ions/shower gods. You could even come up with blog or email topics, or live stream content while you’re in the shower.

Just be sure you write down your ideas as soon as you get out of the shower (keep a notebook and pen in the bathroom.) Or get that waterproof paper (Aqua Notes) and write down the ideas that come to you as soon as they happen–right there in the shower.

It’s almost a given if those idea sparks aren’t jotted down; they’ll dissolve in some black hole inside your brain. Then, all guesses are off whether they’ll reappear again. Or not!

May the shower gods bless you with your next big business idea the next time you step into the shower.

Other Hacks to Increase Serotonin and Your Creativity

Besides taking a shower or visiting a beach for some negative ion therapy, there are other natural actions you can take that increase your serotonin production, improve your mood, and spark creativity for your content creation.

Walking in nature/exposure to sunlight

There are multiple factors at play to produce health benefits from spending time in nature. Increased serotonin, mood elevation, and creativity are all associated with time spent outdoors in nature.

Woodland path with tree across the path up aheadThe Japanese call it shinrin yoku or forest bathing–spending mindfulness minutes in wooded areas. Japanese researchers have found that even small amounts of time immersed in nature are beneficial. Forest bathing increases serotonin and dopamine while decreasing stress hormones–a perfect mix for stewing creative juices.

Exposure to sunlight boosts your Vitamin D levels through chemical reactions occurring in your skin. Vitamin D is a necessary component for serotonin production. Exposure to sunlight for short windows of time helps ensure your Vitamin D levels reach their capacity to keep that serotonin coming! And don’t you just feel much better, more creative, and more alive after spending some time outdoors in sunlight?


Aerobic exercise helps improve serotonin levels. Brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, tennis, or horseback riding are all great ways to get aerobic exercise. Pick something that you enjoy and make it a habit.

If your exercise can be safely done outdoors, in or near water, in nature, or with exposure to sunlight (use the sunscreen), you’ll get an extra boost of serotonin by hacking more than one pathway to the creativity zone.


woman meditating poolsideMeditation is a sure-fire way to calm your nerves and elevate your mood. This mood-boosting hack fires up your creativity, too.

Your awareness of thoughts and feelings expands with regular mindfulness meditation. This is an excellent way to begin to understand how thoughts and emotions contribute to your emotional state.

With regular meditation, you can quickly calm your anxieties and elevate your mood by increasing the release of dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Additionally, studies show that self-induced mood changes can trigger serotonin production. That means that the interaction between serotonin synthesis and mood is a two-way street.

Consciously choosing to improve your mood leads to more serotonin release, and these increased serotonin levels further induce an elevated, feel-good mood and the loop continues. We’ve already seen how that serotonin plays a role in creativity. Feel good and feel creative.

The Message In a Massage

woman performing massage with an ocean backgroundThere’s a reason that people love getting a massage when they’re on a beach holiday. You’re combining two big mood boosters at once when you schedule your massage at a beach or ocean location.

Massage has been shown to increase serotonin levels. As you’ve already read, the flow of water produces negative ions, so the air at the beach is full of these charged particles. Put those two together and your mood and creative process will be jumpstarted twice as fast!

Once your massage is completed and you’ve relaxed, try a brainstorming/brain-dumping exercise to get all the creative sparks out of your mind and onto paper or into a digital storage app.

Just write enough to remember your idea. No need to complete the writing at this point–you just want enough for a memory jogger. If you always write down or collect your content ideas in the same digital location when you initially have them, you’ll never have to rely on your memory banks to retrieve an idea. Then, the next time you’re scheduled to write a blog post or compose an email, all you need to do is plug in your notes, add more content to fill in the blanks, and in no time, you’ll be able to hit publish.

Consume More of the Best Protein Sources

Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Take advantage of this ancient wisdom by concentrating your meals full of high-protein food choices that stimulate serotonin production.

grilled salmon plus veggiesExcellent protein foods include wild-caught salmon, turkey, eggs, and soy products including tofu, edamame, and soy milk.

Nuts–especially peanuts and peanut butter, walnuts, almonds, and cashews contain the precursor ingredients for serotonin.

Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, sesame, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds are other food sources rich in the building blocks of serotonin molecules.

How Do YOU Spark Creativity For Content Creation?

Where do you notice you’re getting your creative sparks? Are you visited by the shower gods or do you find you’re more creative after meditation or massage?

Leave a comment and let me know where your inspiration and your creative process begin most often. Nothing is too weird or too woo-woo to mention. I’m all ears to hear what works best for you.

And if you want even more ways to get content creation flowing, be sure to check out the toolkit down below. This little gem is guaranteed to get the wheels turning so you’ll never look at a blank screen the same way again. That’s because you’ll always have plenty of ideas at the ready to whip up some new content for your hungry audience.

Keep sparking your creativity--get your toolkit to . . .

Never Run Out of Content Ideas

Get immediate delivery to your inbox. Have a non-ending flow of content creation ideas any time you want. Smart tip: use this resource quarterly to plan out your content so you never have to look at a blank screen ever again!

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About the author

Dr. Melissa Brown's career journey has always had an element of teaching. After retirement from clinical pediatric practice, Dr. Brown has taught and mentored as a healthy lifestyle coach, author, and speaker. She currently teaches solopreneurs and coaches how to stop being the world's best-kept secret. Her mission is to help you: Create great content. Impact people. Change the world.

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