The next time you look in horror at a sink full of dirty dishes, think about all of the stress that will melt away once you get your hands in the warm bubbly water. You may have never considered the chore of doing dishes to be a stress reliever, but that is precisely what a new study suggests hand washing dishes can do for you.
Time reports abot a new study from Florida State University that suggests when people do the dishes after reading a passage reminding them to be mindful while washing, they saw an almost 30% reduction in nervousness and 1 in 4 reported feeling a greater sense of inspiration afterwards. The participants were asked to read this passage before starting the chore:
“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.”
But it seems the key to stress reducing dish-washing is to make sure you do it in this meditative state because those who did not read the passage beforehand did not experience any of the benefits of the group that did. The mindful group was also told to take some time to smell the dish soap, feel the warmth of the water and touch the dishes while they worked.
Researchers involved in the study believe people if people take their everyday routines and start doing them with more mindfulness, then it is possible to see this kind of stress reduction throughout the day doing lots of different things. Study author Adam Hanley explains, “I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being.”
What do you think of the new study that suggests doing a chore like the dishes can actually reduce stress?
Do you think an exercise like this might help you to de-stress?