Washing Dishes + Meditation Reduces Stress
By Kirsten Cowart
Earlier this year, I discovered a great way to clean my kitchen and reduce stress at the same time: mindfulness meditation. What is so awesome about this simple stress relieving technique is that it is backed by science and it works!
Cleaning is usually my task of choice to practice this. To do so I consciously decide to slow way down, really immersing myself in the task at hand and I find that the stress from everything else just melts away. I am able to distract my body by focusing on cleaning while my mind is peaceful.
Afterwards, I am full of energy and I feel stress-free. What makes it even better is, not only did I meditate, reduce stress and have some cool epiphanies, but I ended up with clean, hand-washed dishes, too.
A Recent Study Backs This Technique
Mindfully washing your dishes can calm your mind and decrease stress, according to a study done by Florida State University. Recently published in the journal Mindfulness, the study was trying to determine if washing dishes could be used as a contemplative practice that would promote a positive state of mind.
I believe that technically, this technique could be used with any repetitive task that you don’t need to think much about in order to accomplish. However, there is something soothing about washing dishes. I have even gotten my family to try it out when they are having a stressful day and it has made a big difference in the atmosphere and cleanliness of my home.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice where you focus your thoughts, emotions and attention on the present moment. If your mind wanders to the past or to the future, you quickly refocus it on what is going on around you.
Another common practice within mindfulness meditation is to observe your senses. For instance, if you were doing dishes, you would focus on the warm water, how the dishes feel in your hand, the sound of the water, the smell of the soap and anything else that came up in the moment. Your mind goes blank and you become immersed in that moment.
Mundane Activities Could Be The Secret To Peace
“I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher,” said study author and doctoral candidate, Adam Hanley, from FSU College of Education’s Counseling/School Psychology program. “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.”
According to the study conducted with 51 students, they found that those who used the mindfulness technique reported a 27% decrease in nervousness. They also experienced an increase in mental inspiration by 25%. The control group, who didn’t use the mindfulness technique while washing dishes, didn’t experience any benefits.
If you slow down and become fully present, your daily mundane tasks could help mend your mind, reduce stress and inspire your mind. Next time you are cleaning or doing a repetitive task, try out mindfulness meditation and let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Florida State University. “Chore or stress reliever: Study suggests that washing dishes decreases stress.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001165852.htm>.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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