The Secret Benefit of Washing Your Dishes

No need for meditation or yoga—you can ease your mind without changing your daily routine.

It’s no secret that mental health is as important for our overall wellness as eating right. But stress can be tough to handle. It’s so important to find simple ways to help with anxiety in your everyday life.

What if there was a way you could harness mundane tasks to help you fight stress? Turns out—there is. A recent study from Florida State University says that knowing how to wash dishes the right way can help decrease stress, nervousness and anxiety.

Why Washing Dishes Is a Stress-Reliever

According to the study, participants who paid more attention to the action of washing dishes showed less stress than counterparts who did not wash mindfully. (Mindfulness = a moment-to-moment awareness of our actions or experience.) Apparently, focusing in on the feel of the soap, the temperature of the water, the weight of the dishes and the sound of the scrubbing helps to calm our minds.

The study sought to determine whether or not washing dishes could be used as an informal type of meditation. It worked! Students who were encouraged to pay close attention to their moment-to-moment dishwashing experience showed more signs of overall well-being. Who knew cleaning up could be so good for you?

Use the dish soaps that experts recommend.

How to Wash Dishes at Home

You can decrease your stress and anxiety, too. Next time you head to the kitchen to wash dishes, pay attention to each step.

  • Focus on the smell of the soap.
  • Pick up each dish with intention, and pay attention to how you hold it and which direction you scrub in.
  • Feel the rush of the water on your fingers.

You might be able to increase your focus, decrease negative emotions, and feel calmer, happier and more pleasant. Bonus—the dishes are done, too.

Here’s how to clean up the rest of your kitchen!

Popular Videos

Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.