By Dr. Mercola
In a survey of the most-hated chores in the US, washing dishes ranks near the top. Only cleaning the bathroom was more despised than doing the dishes, for kids and adults alike.1
Yet, this simple, mundane activity can offer you actual therapeutic benefits, provided you adopt the right mindset before doing it. The key is to wash your dishes mindfully, which has the power to turn a detested chore into a powerful stress reliever.
Why Doing Your Chores Mindfully May Be Good for Your Mental Health
Unless you’re one of the privileged few with full-time help around the house, you’re going to find yourself faced with chores… often. You can begrudge those chores and do them in a frantic, anxious state, perhaps while fretting over all the other responsibilities (work deadlines, dinner, homework help, etc.) you have to get done as well.
However, this will only serve to increase your overall state of anxiety. On the other hand, you can choose to do your chores, like washing dishes, mindfully, which can offer your racing mind some much-needed respite.
Practicing “mindfulness” means you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful, you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications.
You can add mindfulness to virtually any aspect of your day simply by paying attention to the sensations you are experiencing in the present moment. Techniques sometimes used to become more mindful include:2
Paying focused attention to an aspect of sensory experience, such as the sound of your own breathing
Distinguishing between simple thoughts and those that are elaborated with emotion (such as “I have a test tomorrow” versus “What if I fail
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