Study suggests washing dishes can decrease stress.
Washing those dreadful dishes after a long day seems like the furthest thing from relaxation. Or is it?
Student and faculty researchers at Florida State University have found that mindfully washing dishes calms the mind and decreases stress.
Published in the journal Mindfulness,the study looked at whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice that promotes a positive state of mindfulness — a meditative method of focusing attention on the emotions and thoughts of the present moment.
“I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher,” said Adam Hanley, a doctoral candidate in FSU College of Education’s Counseling/School Psychology program and one of the study’s authors. “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.”
After conducting a study with 51 students, the researchers found that mindful dishwashers — those who focused on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, the feel of the dishes — reported a decrease in nervousness by 27 percent and an increase in mental inspiration by 25 percent. The control group, on the other hand, didn’t experience any benefits.
About this psychology research
The research team also included Alia Warner and Vincent Delhili, doctoral candidates at Florida State; Angela Canto, assistant professor at Florida State; and Eric Garland, associate professor at University of Utah.
Source: Kelli Gemmer – Florida State University Image Source: The image is in the public domain Original Research:Abstract for “Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice” by Adam W. Hanley, Alia R. Warner, Vincent M. Dehili, Angela I. Canto, and Eric L. Garland in Mindfulness. Published online October 1 2015 doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0360-9
Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice
This study sought to investigate whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice, promoting the state of mindfulness along with attendant emotional and attentional phenomena. 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. A sample of 51 college students engaged in either a mindful or control dishwashing practice before completing measures of mindfulness, affect, and experiential recall. Mindful dishwashers evidenced greater state mindfulness, increases in elements of positive affect (i.e., inspiration), decreases in elements of negative affect (i.e., nervousness), and overestimations of dishwashing time. Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities.
“Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice” by Adam W. Hanley, Alia R. Warner, Vincent M. Dehili, Angela I. Canto, and Eric L. Garland in Mindfulness. Published online October 1 2015 doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0360-9