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Study Shows that Washing Dishes Can Reduce Stress, Boost Mental Health

Are feeling stressed out? No matter what the reason for your bad mood, it might be a good idea to start washing those dishes you left at the sink. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a better mood; that’s what a recent study suggests.

According to the study by a team of researchers from Florida State University in Tallahassee led by Adam W. Hanley, washing dishes might actually be a good way to reduce stress. But what’s exciting about this study is that the researchers also found out that this does not only lower stress, it can also help boost mental health and promote better physical well-being.

This study sought to investigate whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice, promoting the state of mindfulness along with attendant emotional and attentional phenomena.

We hypothesized that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing.”

Could these be the reason why moms have a lot to do but still manage to still have lots of energy reserved for the kids?

Using a sample of 51 college students, the researchers made engage in either mindful or control dishwashing practice before measuring mindfulness, affect, and experiential recall.

They found out that those who underwent “mindful” dishwashing showed decrease elements of negative affect (like nervousness) by 27% and increased elements of positive affect (such as inspiration) by 25%, while having a greater state mindfulness.

What Does “Mindfulness” Mean?

The word means that while you wash the dishes, you only focus on the matter at hand. In other words, you should only think about washing the dishes when washing the dishes. Through this mindfulness, you train your mind to focus on the things you are doing at the moment, omitting negative and distracting thoughts altogether.

It’s also a plus factor when you think of washing the dishes as the main thing you are doing and not considering this as “just a chore” that you have to get over with.

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