Washing Dishes Mindfully Can Ease Stress, Study Shows

There is a way to wash dishes and alleviate stress at the same time — and it’s doing the dishes mindfully.

Researchers from Florida State University studied 51 college students as they washed dishes, and more than half were given a dish washing passage written by author and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which told them to bring mindfulness to the activity — really smelling the soap and sensing the water temperature.

“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,” the passage by Hanh said, according to Medical Daily. “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.”

The remainder of the control group being studied read a short message focused on the basics of getting things done, and the results showed those who read the Thich Nhat Hanh passage, and washing the dishes mindfully, reported a decrease in nervousness (by 27 percent) and an increase in mental inspiration (by 25 percent). More importantly, the control group noticed no benefits at all.