The dish washing activity can prove to be a convenient detox for an overworked mind, said Wall Street Journal.
Scientists at Florida State University set out to discover if washing up could be used as an informal contemplative practise to promote mindfulness and improve emotional wellbeing.
Researchers at Florida State University in Tallahassee recruited 51 students in their early 20s. The subjects gave their interpretations of the readings verbally and in writing, and then each washed 18 clean dishes. The group that was not asked to read the passage showed no difference in their mental scores.
Researchers found that people who washed the dishes mindfully had an increased feeling of inspiration by 25 percent, and decreased nervousness levels by 27 percent.
Mindfulness refers both to a peaceful cognitive state and a popular form of therapeutic meditation that calms the mind and body by focusing attention on an object or activity, such as breathing.
The remaining participants acted as controls, and read a similar-length passage about proper dishwashing techniques. The experimental group reported increased positivity and decreased nervousness, while the control group reported no change. They encouraged half of the students to focus on the sensory part of the experience (smelling the detergent, feeling the hot water, noticing the shape of the dishes).
The researchers linked dishwashing to an opportunity for practicing mindfulness, a method of focusing attention on the emotions and thoughts of the present moment usually linked to the practice of a few type of meditation.
Despite the small sample size of the study, its findings have drawn the researchers to conclude that practicing mindfulness to relieve stress could be applied to a number of other everyday tasks.