Researchers at the Florida State University found that the common household chore of washing dishes could help relax the mind and relieve stress. The study was published in the journal Mindfulness.
“It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,” researchers said on the study.
Washing dishes is an activity that focuses the attention, emotions and thoughts of the present and it could be used as a meditational method, promoting a peaceful state of mind, the study says.
“I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher,” said Adam Hanley, lead author of the study, in a press release. “I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase the overall sense of well-being”.
The study was conducted on 51 students of the university, with results that report a 27 percent decrease on nervous behaviors and a 25 percent increase on mental inspiration, according to the press release.
The researchers made the students read a 230-word passage about washing dishes, wrote by Thich Nhat Hanh, called “Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice”.
The benefits appeared when the students concentrated on little things like “the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water and the feel of the dishes”. Students also stated that they experienced a feeling of time running slower, allowing them to think more clearly. The other control group didn’t report any benefits.
“The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I am 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,” reads the final part of the passage.
Source: Science Daily