Why do we feel so good after a shower?
Sure, there are plenty of physical reasons. The warm water is nice, it relaxes our muscles, etc.
What’s more interesting is the psychological effects washing can have on us:
- Baths in warm water can make you feel less lonely. Studies have shown we have trouble distinguishing physical warmth from emotional warmth.
- Many believe you can literally wash away bad luck. Given an opportunity to wash their hands, people were more likely to re-engage in risky behavior they had previously failed at.
- The connection between cleanliness and ethical purity isn’t just metaphorical. A shower can make you less moralistic and washing your hands can lead you to feel less guilty.
- Finally, the water isn’t the only part of the shower that may be exerting a positive influence on you. Looking at yourself in the mirror can have powerful psychological effects. Self-awareness makes you compare yourself to ideas of what you should or could be and has been shown to drive people to follow their inner values instead of others’ orders.
Speaking of which, I need a shower.
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