The Benefits of Mindfully Washing Dishes
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Simple daily exercises can increase your mindful state. Researchers gave subjects a passage to read prior to washing dishes. Half the subjects read about the sensory mindful experience of dishwashing and the other half read about dishwashing techniques. Those who read the mindful approach to dishwashing showed a 27% decrease in nervousness and a 25% increase in mental inspiration whereas those who read about techniques did not show a significant change (Hanley et al., 2015).
I had accidentally discovered this for myself before I had ever even heard of mindfulness. I always hated washing dishes because it just seemed like a nuisance that got in the way of more important things I wanted to do. One day, however, for whatever reason I don't know, I fully focused on washing the dishes. I didn't think of anything else, not even how much I hated doing dishes. I just washed the dishes. Afterwards, I thought, "Wow, that was actually pleasant!" Ever since, I haven't felt an intense negative reaction to dishes.
Although meditation is desirable, even simple mindfulness exercises can provide benefits. Change is difficult when it demands a great deal of time. Simple exercises can be a good start to your mindfulness practice. Listen to Excel At Life's Mindfulness Exercise Doing the Dishes
(or read the transcript) to incorporate daily mindfulness practice into your life. By practicing this and other simple exercises you can develop a more mindful attitude.
Hanley, A.W., Warner, A.R., Dehili, V.M., Canto, A.L., and Garland, E.L. (2015). Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice. Mindfulness, 6, 1095-1103.
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