Sometimes it’s the simple things that extend a helping hand in coping with daily stress. Such as mindful dishwashing.
It might be a taken for granted experience, but dishwashing, especially when practiced mindfully is a great stress relief. This is the finding of a research conducted at the Florida State University, involving 51 students on campus.
Easing one’s mind has never been easier, say the researchers behind the project. Before the chore began the students were asked to carefully read a passage from Buddhist monk and poet Thich Nhat Hanh, speaking of mindfulness in relation to this tedious chore for some:
“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being 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”.
Inspiring? For the students who took the time to read through it and practice the mindfulness it preaches in relation to dishwashing, it worked wonders according to the research results. Not so for another batch of students who treated the chore as something to tick off of their daily activity list.
Stress-reducing mindfulness is a technique practiced and recommended in relieving patients of dire symptoms of anxiety, stress or even depression. This therapeutical practice has already been around since 1979 in over 250 U.S. hospitals.
What did the students learn from this experience? According to the research findings, their level of daily stress reduced considerably when they took the time to smell the detergent, to feel the temperature of the water, to clean the dishes, while focusing on nothing else than that moment and the action at hand.
Mindful dishwashing was found to decrease the level of stress by 27 percent, while the feeling inspired increased by 25 percent. This everyday chore, approached with awareness and consciousness brings about new mindfulness on one’s self and surrounding. There may be cases in which trying to hard may result in an increased level of stress. However, overall, the results of this small-scale study related to mindful dishwashing pinpoint new insights on psychological well-being.
In the U.S., 47 percent of surveyed adults report feeling stressed on a daily basis, according to the American Psychological Association. For them, stress-reducing mindfulness applied to something as simple as washing dishes may prove highly beneficial.
Photo Credits: Pixabay