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Washing Dishes Can Reduce Stress, Science Says

woman doing dishes

For a lot of parents, this might seem like a chore that they could easily live without, but according to a new study, it might help relax them at the end of the day. A new report suggests that washing dishes might actually be a good way to reduce stress.

According to a study conducted by authors Adam W. Hanley, Alia R. Warner, Vincent M. Dehili, Angela I. Canto, and Eric L. Garland in association with Florida State University in Tallahassee, washing dishes can actually be an informal mindfulness practice that can also be seen as a way for people to de-stress after a long day at school or the office. Their study was published in the journal Mindfulness.

The study investigated whether washing dishes could be used as a contemplative practice. The results found that it can significantly lower a person’s stress level, but only if it is done mindfully. It’s a life hack that many people don’t know about, yet do it on almost a daily basis. It can also boost your mental health and well-being thanks to the smell of soap, the temperature of the water and the feel of the dishes. All three factors can trigger a positive state of mind for the person doing the chore.

The study notes that if you are washing the dishes, you should only be focused on washing the dishes to benefit from the process. The authors wrote, “We hypothesized that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing.”

According to Life Hack, the researchers found that a person’s nervous feelings decreased by 27 percent while they were washing the dishes. What’s more, their mental inspiration increased by about 25 percent. Both changes helped heighten a person’s sense of pleasure, while not keeping track of time or thinking about other things that might concern them.

Mindfulness is a practice of omitting negative or distracting thoughts to allow a person to be more aware of their own feelings and senses. It is also defined as being “in the moment” rather than allowing your mind to trail off and think about things that you have done or need to do. They key is to wash the dishes and not just wash the dishes as part of a chore that many people just want to get over with quickly.

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