How Cleaning Improves Mood
Few people look forward to household chores. Washing dishes, folding laundry, paying bills—that can all wait for later, right? Wrong! When tasks are beneficial for both your to-do list and your wellbeing, these daily chores can have a lasting, peaceful impact on your day to day.
The Right Mindset is Key.
“When we are intentionally doing something in our life in a way that invites ease and peace, it is going to feel different than if we are doing something out of stress or obligation,” says Dr. Ariane Machin, Psychologist. “Taking a mindful approach to what we are doing elicits a ‘calming down’ of our body systems, enhances our oxygen flow, and contributes to us feeling more content.”
“The key is to train your mind and whole being to be in the moment, without judgement, which can be a great tool for stopping automatic, repetitive and unhelpful thoughts,” says Erin Stair, M.D., M.P.H. She exercises mindfulness while she washes the dishes. “I use my five senses to do this, and by that, I mean I ask myself basic questions like: What am I feeling? Seeing? Hearing? Smelling? Tasting? Using the five senses is an easy way to train your mind to connect and ’embrace’ the moment.”
Tackling small chores can also improve your outlook on larger, more stressful tasks. With a simple, quick task like vacuuming, your brain is distracted from stressful thoughts and rewarded from a sense of accomplishment. When your brain has a “reset” like this, you’re able to return to engaging activities feeling less stressed more easily. “When the mind is less stressed, the body follows suit as well with measured decreases in heart rate and blood pressure,” says Jared Heatherman, M.D..
Daily Chores Done Right.
So what’s it mean? Doing your daily chores is not only necessary because it’s things you have to do anyways, but because it has a positive and healthy impact for your mind and body. Next time you’re faced with dusting, mopping or another chore you’d rather procrastinate on, consider the benefit of giving your mind a rest from everything else and focus only at the task at hand. The more you find satisfaction in little jobs done well, the better your body and mind will feel.
So next time you’re feeling stressed and staring at a pile of dishes in the sink that we know—you don’t want to do, grab your dish soap and get to work because a clean sink (floor, bedroom, house, you get it) is peace of mind.