This Kitchen Chore Actually Gets Rid Of Stress — Do *You* Believe It?

stress-relieving kitchen chore

For some of us, washing dishes is the WORST chore. It’s the standing in place forever, scalding water, bits of old spaghetti stuck on plates — all of it so annoying! But it turns out washing dishes might actually be worth doing more of. Hear us out. According to a 2014 study from researchers at Florida State University, washing the dishes can actually lower one’s stress level — that is, if you do so mindfully.

Researchers had 51 students wash dishes. Before the study began, half of the participants read a “mindful dishwashing instruction,” whereas the other half didn’t. Per TIME, the passage read as follows:

“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. 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.”

Woah — we’re not even washing the dishes and we feel so zen.

The team of researchers hypothesized that, by reading this mindfulness passage, participants would think differently about the task at hand. Dish washing would somewhat subconsciously become more positively attuned to the chore.


“I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being,” said the study’s author, Adam Hanley, a doctoral candidate in FSU College of Education’s Counseling/School Psychology program, in a statement to TIME.

You know what’s also soothing and stress-relieving? Watching food videos. Here’s one that will melt all your troubles away:

Researchers found that those who mindfully washed the dishes felt 25 percent more inspired and 27 percent less nervous. They took time to smell the soap, feel the temperature of the water, and be totally present in that moment.

This led researchers to believe that approaching any mundane daily activity with intention and awareness could help one’s stress and anxiety levels decrease.


Listen, we’ll give this whole mindful dishwashing method a shot. But don’t even try to convince us that we can get the same results from mindful bathroom cleaning. Just don’t.

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