Here’s one more reason why it pays to be a good spouse. The next time you find your sink full of dirty dishes, don’t crib — take a deep breath and get into action. Daily and repetitive tasks like doing the dishes could reduce stress by 27% and increase inspiration by 25%, as long as dishes are cleaned when in a fully conscious state, according to an American study.
What if spending time washing your dishes became an act of meditation and relaxation? To answer the question, researchers from Florida State University, US, conducted an experiment on 51 volunteers from the university.
Half of the group was asked to read instructions on how to best wash dishes, written in a mindful manner. Mindfulness meditation plays a very important role in Buddhism and is a recommended practice for focusing attention on the present moment and concentrating on the sensations that come to mind while simultaneously analysing whether or not these thoughts are permanent or fleeting, pleasant or not.
The other group was asked to read classic and descriptive instructions of the chore. Each participant then washed 18 plates before answering a questionnaire to evaluate their state of mind and their level of well-being. “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,” said study author Adam Hanley. The results found that the volunteers who washed dishes in a state of complete awareness had a 25% increase in their feelings of inspiration and reduced their anxiety by 27%.
The group that had done the dishes in a more traditional manner felt no difference in their well-being or state of mind.