Leaving a pile of dirty dishes in your sink might seem like a typical Sunday for all you procrastinators out there. But if you’re a stressed out soul, it might not be your best plan of action in terms of keeping your mind at ease.

In a study conducted at Florida State University, researchers investigated whether washing dishes could help reduce stress and improve emotional stability in a positive manner. Fifty-one college students participated in the study, and were divided into groups of mindful or controlled dishwashing methods.

One group washed the dishes mindfully (by smelling the soap, focusing on really feeling the shape of the dishes, and enjoying the temperature of the water, etc.) while the second group washed the dishes in a traditional way more so to simply finish the task.

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The students who washed the dishes with mindfulness reported a 27% decrease in nervousness and an increase of 25% positive mental inspiration. Meanwhile, those who washed the dishes without mindfulness had no benefit from the action. Who knew that such a mundane, daily activity can be done in a way that’s beneficial to your mental health??

So, next time you’re getting ready to add some suds to your dirty dishes, take the time to enjoy the washing experience. In such a stressed-out world, we should use any chance we get to calm those nerves and reduce stress.

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