According to a new study published in the journal Mindfulness, dishwashing can boost mental health and relieve stress.
For the study, co-author Adam Hanley and colleagues had 51 participants—all college students—wash dishes to determine the effects of a simply daily activity on mental well-being. The participants were divided into two groups. One group, the control, read some descriptive text about dishwashing; the second group read a mindful passage about the task that stressed the importance of mental awareness and focus while dishwashing. Both groups were then instructed to wash dishes. Researchers assessed participants’ state of mind following the task to measure their degree of mindfulness.
The findings revealed a correlation between an improved state of mind and increased mindfulness. Those who focused on factors like the temperature of the water, the soap’s scent, or the feel of the dishes reported a more positive mental state. Additionally, compared to the controls, researchers measured a 27% decline in nervousness and a 25% increase in mental well-being among the mindful dishwashers.
The American Institute of Stress reports that stress and its effects on the body are responsible for 60% of all illness and disease. According to this latest study, a daily chore, when completed mindfully, could reduce feelings of stress, improving both mental and physical health.
Source for Today’s Article:
Hanley, A.W., et al., “Washing dishes to wash the dishes: Brief instruction in an informal mindfulness practice,” Mindfulness, October 2015; 6(5): 1095–1103, doi: 10.1007/s12671-014-0360-9.