Stressed? New study finds mindful dishwashing relieves nervousness

According to a study in the journal “Mindfulness”, washing the dishes could also cleanse your mind.


To analyse the impact of washing the dishes, researchers at Florida State University recruited 51 students to engage in mindful dishwashing.

Florida State University researchers found that individuals who wash the dishes mindfully by taking in the soap’s scent and sensing the water temperatures, experienced increased feelings of inspiration and decreased nervousness, as reported by Newser.

“Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities”, the researchers wrote. “There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves”, part of the mindfulness passage read. The others, who acted as controls, read a similar-length passage about proper dishwashing techniques.

Half of the group was asked to read instructions on how to best wash dishes, written in a mindful manner.

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 idea is not totally new, as previous research has shown that chores – specifically washing the dishes – can be a good opportunity for relaxation. The researchers involved in this experiment asked the group to focus on the dishwashing experience, the shape of the dishes, the feel of the suds, smell of the soap etc. The group that studied about Mindfulness actually reported being less nervous after completing the job, whereas the control group did not feel any difference as such.


Practicing mindfulness to relieve stress could be applied to a number of other everyday tasks.

Daily chores 'reduce stress and nervousness, improving wellbeing'