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Washing Dishes Is a Really Great Stress Reliever, Science Says


Can a simple task bring stress relief?  Researchers divided students into two groups with the task of just washing dishes.  One group read a descriptive paragraph about dish washing while the comparison group read a passage about dish washing as a mindfulness activity.  Post dishwashing measures found that the mindfulness group significantly increased scores on feelings of positive affect (labeled “inspiration”) and lower scores on negative affective (stress and (nervousness”) measurements than the other group.  “It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness.”


Time Magazine, September 30, 2015, by Alexandra Sifferlin

Original source:  Hanley, A.W. and others, (2015), Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice, Mindfulness, 6(5), 1095-1103.


Link to original:


•What is stress? (describe in both biological, psychological, and emotional terms)
•How does stress affect both physical health and psychological health?
•What does “mindfulness” purport to do?  Are their empirical studies to prove these claims?
•How can doing simple manual tasks offer stress relief?  Ask the students to discuss, anecdotally, their own experiences as a “student engagement” activity.


Mindfulness, Stress, Stress Management, Dish washing, Activities and Stress Management, Meditation

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