Cleaning is one of those strange activities that can be both enjoyable and a nuisance. But are we actually happier and less stressed when we clean, or is the task we are supposed to be doing somehow less enjoyable than vacuuming? And why should you use cleaning as a tool to relieve stress?
I for one, despise cleaning when I would rather be doing anything else, and love it when I have something more daunting that I should be doing or feel that I am unable to do the said “daunting” task because I feel my surroundings are too messy. But if it helps reduce my stress levels, whilst allowing me to remain productive, that to me is a win-win situation.
Medicaldaily.com notes a recent study by researchers from Florida State University on the benefits of utilising cleaning as a tool for achieving mindfulness. Researchers noted that turning a “mundane everyday activity” such as dishwashing into a claming stress reliever proved to be successful, noting that “an everyday activity approached with an intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness”, which in turn allowed the research participants to increase their levels of inspiration, ‘decrease nervousness, and overestimate how long they were washing the dishes’.
Consequently, mess can exacerbate our stress levels. Being surrounded by mess and clutter makes it feel as though our work is not done and is a distraction from the work that should be done. Not to mention that mess can mean a lack of organisation (even if you are content being surrounded by an ‘organised mess’) which can lead to the panic that comes with not being able to find something, especially if it is important or urgent.
So, what are you waiting for? Get cleaning!
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