Many times, you may have privately concluded that some of science’s and philosophy’s biggest mysteries were solved while their discoverers sat on that precise spot—the toilet seat. Right?
The toilet is an essential place to visit. And while it may not show up on maps, it’s a place we can’t miss visiting.
Some mysteries of life are so baffling that you must occupy your high seat to unravel them. Read on to find the good and useful things to do on the toilet.
10 Good & Productive Things To Do On The Toilet
Of course, you’ll perform the biological excretion tasks that you’re expected to perform in the toilet.
What’s different here are these ten simple but surprisingly productive things to do for your happiness while you take a seat at your comfort abode, i.e., commode.
Here are 10 good and useful things to do on the toilet:
1. Think (One of These 4 Types of Thinking)
For many, the most peaceful time of their entire day are the minutes they spend sitting on the pot. Truly! And it is justifiably so because you know they will not call you out to do any of those ‘silly’ things of a routine day. On a side note, just thinking of doing those activities will risk you getting ‘stuck up.’
Anyway, thinking is the best thing you can do while there. The next best thing appears last on this list. There are many categories of thinking, and you can do them all.
- Reminiscing — remembering fond memories from the past, bringing a warm glow to your face and lighter weight to your existence.
- Memorizing — learning the details of a particularly complex topic by heart, which happens best when there are no distractions around you.
- Pondering — the deep thought process that involves a devotional focus on thoroughness, usually done to conclude a perplexity.
- Ruminating — the thinking of distress, also known as ‘overthinking’, which takes away your happiness and peace.
- Planning — the ubiquitous kind of thinking we are born to do every day of our life, perhaps even before the age that we learn to think! How do you plan your goals?
2. Read (In Absolute Peace)
This is a given. A socially accepted and perpetrated ‘do in the loo’!
Often, we make our kids read out loud the alphabet and numerals while they are on the pot. The adolescents, meanwhile, get to read many things of cryptic and abstract origin — texts, messages, memes, signs, symbols, and pictures.
Let us be very clear here that those things that teens and post-teens do are mostly outside the realm of our understanding, so it’s safe to group them under ‘cryptic’.
Then, as grown-ups, our reading options explode : we read newspapers, sales charts, annual projections, balance sheets, business books, articles on self-improvement, and a plethora of pretentious garbage. So, read if you can and read if you must. This is the easiest thing to do on the list.
A great book we recommend you to read is Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by the science star Giulia Enders. It is a cheeky, up-close, and personal guide to the secrets and science of our digestive system.
Every so often I wonder if Morse did his most famous work — the dot-and-dash code — right from his high seat.
3. Exercise (Yes, You can!)
Now we’re talking, as the multitudes of fitness freaks will wring their hands and say!
We wonder why no health article has ever explored this aspect, perhaps because they might feel it’s too far below their standards.
Right then, the kinds of exercises we can do from there are:
- Neck rotation — Bob your head in slow rotation around your neck, clockwise and anticlockwise, and repeat. We know this releases a lot of stress (lactic acid and nitrogen gas, in scientific terms) that gets collected in the joints and muscles around your neck.
- Hands over head — Spread your arms to your side and slowly bring them up to above your head, go down, and repeat.
- Forward bend— Bend your upper body, the torso, forwards so that your chest touches your thighs, raise your torso back up, and repeat.
By the way, did you know exercise can make you happier, as proven by brain science?
4. Breathe (Tricky Idea, This!)
Of course, you’ll breathe! What we profess here is to practice belly breathing. Take in a long, slow breath through your nostrils while filling up your chest, hold for a count of five, and release it slowly through your mouth.
Belly breathing has well-documented advantages. It replenishes your blood oxygen levels, expels some extra toxins through your breath, and relaxes you. Scientists have discovered that a relaxed mind relaxes the gut, so we would necessarily recommend it to anyone as long as they sit there.
And it has a physiological mechanism — deep breathing works your diaphragm, the partition between your belly and chest, and stimulates your vagus nerves, which then kicks in your parasympathetic system to bring down your heart rate and blood pressure; this relaxes you.
To practice belly breathing, sit up straight on your seat and put your hands on your belly. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Fill your lungs with air, allowing your belly to expand like a balloon. Then, as if you were blowing bubbles, slowly expel the air from your mouth. Do it for three to five minutes and find yourself relaxed.
And if you really thought we forgot, we did not:
Please breathe as much as you want, but remember to smell as little as you can. Thank you!
5. Sing (Even The Big Guys Do It)
My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!
That’s what Anne Sullivan said. She was the one who taught Braille to Helen Keller.
So, singing is something we would ask you to do. Pay special heed, in case the door lock of your restroom got rusty and broke, we implore you to sing — to save your modesty, and that of others who may chance upon your hapless seated self. Sing out loud, with no shame, for no one in his sanity would dare to judge you for singing from the toilet.
On the contrary, if you’re loud enough to reach them, your neighbors might brand you as a cheerful person who sings his heart out when alone.
And yes, of course, your songs might also mask certain clamorous sounds that escape into the wind.
6. Listen (No Words To Say)
Listen to your favorite music — loud or on wireless headphones. Listen to some podcasts (we highly recommend The Psychology Podcast by Scott Barry Kaufman) you have been meaning to hear for a long time. Or listen to the news.
Listen to your thoughts. Listen to the voices in your memories. Listen to yourself barking back at your boss. Listen to a distant song playing from a bird’s throat.
Listen to your neighbors talking in hushed tones. Listen to the sounds of the house.
Listen to your heart, and your fa…!
7. Drink (You May Not Agree, But…)
You’re going to lose some part of your hydration there, so why not drink up on some fluids? We may suggest fresh fruit juice, a lemon drink, or a yogurt drink. At the least, a glass of warm water.
Or your morning coffee or tea. Or a glassful of milk. Or, if you’re adventurous enough to handle it, you can get in some hot soup in a cup or sipper.
The short of it: Drink up something warm, it would start and intensify the peristalsis movements of your guts and help things move in the right direction.
8. Meditate (The 2nd Best Thing You Could Do Here)
This is the toughest one on this list. But this is for those aces that are forever juggling their minutes throughout the day and find no time to meditate.
If you observe closely, being seated ‘defenseless’ is halfway down the path to meditation. Just imagine how easy it is going to be from that half distance!
There are a few types of meditation that you can practice here:
- Heart Rhythm Meditation — Focus on your heartbeats, listening to them intently, while imagining the blood flowing out from your heart to various organs of your body. Try to listen to the blood rushing through your arteries.
- Visualization Meditation — Imagine yourself in a peaceful, serene place. A grassy meadow, a placid beach, or a peaceful forest. Perhaps you can also imagine yourself seated on top of the Eiffel Tower, with a few shades of cloud floating by. You can use a recorded voice guiding you into this visualizing exercise; just make sure it’s not asking you to lie down. Stoic philosophers had a twist on this—Negative Visualization.
- Mindfulness Meditation — the most popular form of meditation today. It involves being aware of the train of thoughts that are passing through your mind, in a manner of passive observation, without getting entangled in them or judging them. In essence, in mindfulness, you practice detachment — letting go!
9. Thank The Universe (Ask The Astronauts)
Feel grateful for everything that is good with you, around you, and about you. Thank people. Thank life itself. Thank the universe.
• Do not pray — prayer is a petition or a plea.
• Do not feel indebtedness — which is an obligation to pay back.
• Just feel appreciative of all that you have, within you and in your life. Just feel thankful.
Much research in psychology has proven that people who are grateful lead happier, more fulfilled lives. They have higher levels of self-acceptance.
They are more socializing in nature. They think less negatively, have a more positive attitude, and are less likely to blame themselves or others.
Grateful people are more resilient — that is, they cope better with unexpected adversities and daily challenges of living.
If you find some time, come back to check out this fine post on what physical and mental benefits you get when you build your ‘muscle’ of resiliency: Resilience In Positive Psychology.
In general, grateful people are less stressed, less depressed, more generous, and more likely to help others.
Gratitude makes one sleep better. Such people are more satisfied with their lives and their relationships.
Gratitude magnifies the sweet parts of life and diminishes the painful ones. — Yuval Levin
10. Just Sit There (Please!)
Do nothing. Just don’t do any darn thing. Simply sit there, relax, and let nature take its course.
Most of the time, we focus so much on the things we have to do that we fail to see we also may spend some time doing nothing.
Once you get up in the morning, until the time you go to sleep, you’re always into some action. Did it occur to you that you can spend some of those few minutes in absolute inaction?
In doing nothing, you assert that you’re no slave to the bondage of modern life. You proclaim that you were born free!
Do nothing. Just don’t do any darn thing. Simply sit there, relax, and let nature take its course.
Fun fact: Loo is the British word for the restroom/toilet.
The word loo originates from Waterloo, a tradename for iron cisterns that existed in the early part of this century. We refer to it differently as toilet, washroom, restroom, lavatory, or latrine. What we mean by “loo” here is the Western Commode or, if you prefer (and you should), the Squat Toilet.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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