Few people in this world don’t cringe on the inside at the thought of having to do the dishes. This activity is one of the most hated in households around the world, and the reason for plenty of domestic conflicts.
But a new analysis discovered that washing the dishes could have a beneficial effect in that it can relieve stress. And it’s not just because the activity is repetitive and practically a no-brainer, but also because it allows the individual practice mindfulness.
Researchers at Florida State College tested the hypothesis by requiring 51 college students to give a thorough scrub to 18 clear dishes every day. Mindfulness is described as a state of mind when the person practicing it focuses on dwelling in the present and awakening their awareness. In other words, it’s a “carpe diem” kind of mentality.
According to specialists, one of the ways to achieve mindfulness is by performing a repetitive action, and why not combine spiritual bettering with a chore most people despise?
In its traditional use, mindfulness is a cognitive remedy for patients of medical melancholy. By focusing on the present rather than dwelling on the past or daydreaming of the future, these individuals are encouraged to observe incoming stimuli, and fight any potentially negative reactions.
In this study, scientists attempted to find whether optimistic feelings of peacefulness and calm would ensue if the mind would be occupied with extra-trivial activities, such as dish washing.
As explained by author Adam Hanley, a doctoral candidate in Florida State College’s Training Counseling/Faculty Psychology program, mundane actions have an interesting quality of promoting a conscious state and, in turn, improving one’s overall sense of well-being.
Prior to doing the required chore, half of the volunteers were briefed on how to achieve a state of “casual contemplative observation.” They were encouraged to keep focus on their activity, control their breath, and become fully aware of the exercise at hand, avoiding any distractions in their train of thought.
The other half of the student group was only given a descriptive, technical presentation of the exercise without any additional pointers as to how to implement it during the chore. It turned out that washing dishes mindfully decreases nervousness by 27 percent.
Besides being a stress reliever, the focus also provided heightened consciousness of how the soap smelled and how warm was the water; these insights were a boost on creativity. These emotions of leisure and optimism were missing in the group of students who simply carried out the chore.
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