Before reading this article further, I have one question for you: Do you have loads of dirty plates and pans on the sink right now? Be honest. We won’t judge. If you answered yes, well, don’t worry because you’re not alone. I have some, too! In fact, washing dishes is totally my least favorite chore to do.
That said, a recent study is telling us that washing dishes can actually decrease a person’s stress level. As long as they do the chore “mindfully,” that is!
This is according to a group of reseachers from Florida State University who observed 51 students wash dishes.
Before they began, half of the students were asked to read “a short mindfulness dishwashing passage” while the remaining ones read “a short descriptive dishwashing passage,” reported a SouthernLiving article.
The mindful passage partly read:
“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.”
Adam Hanley, author of the study and a doctoral candidate in FSU College of Education’s Counseling/School Psychology program, commented:
“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.”
So yes, the researchers are telling us that people who ‘mindfully’ washed their dishes (meaning those who focused on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature, etc) increased their feelings of inspiration by 25% and decreased their nervousness levels by 27%.
“It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,” wrote the authors of the study.