Stress management through washing the dishes

Although in a lot of households washing the dishes can be an endless supply of stress, the chore may also be a good stress management tool, if we approach it the right way.

Researchers from Florida State University investigated the way in which different approaches to washing could affect stress levels.

51 students were given the task of washing 18 dishes. Half of them were given a 230 word passage on mindfulness before approaching the task.

It was found that, following the chore, 27 per cent of those that had read the passage were less stressed, and less nervous, and a quarter reported feeling more inspired.

Mindfulness is very sensory, and relies on experiencing the moment in a non-judgemental way.

The practice of focusing on the dishes is very good for nurturing a mindful state of mind. The sensations of touch from the soapy water, manipulating the plates and scrubbing the dirt away can all help to focus the mind on the present moment.

Of course, doing the dishes is not going to be as effective as true mindfulness practice, but “the implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities,” the researchers wrote.

The journal was published in the journal Mindfulness.

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