Stressed? A new study says that a common household chore, which is a dreadful task for many, can effectively give relief from stress. That chore is washing dishes.
The study found that washing dishes "mindfully" - or focusing one's attention and thoughts on the activity - decreased stress levels and offered a calming effect on the mind, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"I've had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher," Adam Hanley, study co-author and a doctoral candidate at Florida State University's Counseling/School Psychology program, said 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 overall sense of well-being."
The researchers studied 51 students, half of whom were asked to read a short passage about mindfulness in dishwashing. The rest of the students served as control and were asked to read a short passage about how to do dishwashing correctly. Each of the 51 students were then asked to wash 18 dishes.
The team found at the end of the study that those who washed dishes mindfully, putting their thoughts on things like the feel of the water and the smell of the soap, got a boost in mental inspiration by 25 percent and a reduction in their nervousness by 27 percent. They also felt like time slowed down for them while they were washing the dishes.
The authors said that the results indicated that mindfulness could be practiced in doing other activities to help relieve stress.
The study was published in the October 2015 issue of the journal Mindfulness.