When you’re stressed out and need a way of relief what usually comes to mind are things such as going to a spa, getting a massage or perhaps lying on a beach, but do you ever think about washing dishes?
No, not really.
According to a recent study, washing dishes can be a great stress reliever, but there’s a catch… it must be done mindfully.
The study had 51 students wash dishes but before they started, half of them were made to read a passage on how to wash the dishes mindfully, whilst the other had to read passages about completing the task at hand.
The researchers found that the mindful group who focused on smelling the soap, focusing on their breathing and feeling the water temperature reported an improved state of well-being not to mention a 27% reduction in nervousness and a 25% increase in mental inspiration.
Meanwhile, the other group reported no such benefits from washing dishes (besides having clean dishes in the end).
Despite being a small study with only 51 students being tested, it does highlight that we could potentially use everyday activities to beat stress if we approach them through a lens of mindfulness.
So next time rather than looking at that pile of dishes in your sink as a challenge and a chore, think of it as something that could improve your psychological well-being.