ORIGINAL PAPER

Mindfulness

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 1095-1103

First online:

Washing Dishes to Wash the Dishes: Brief Instruction in an Informal Mindfulness Practice

  • Adam W. HanleyAffiliated withEducational Psychology & Learning Systems Email author 
  • , Alia R. WarnerAffiliated withEducational Psychology & Learning Systems
  • , Vincent M. DehiliAffiliated withEducational Psychology & Learning Systems
  • , Angela I. CantoAffiliated withEducational Psychology & Learning Systems
  • , Eric L. GarlandAffiliated withHuntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

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Abstract

This study sought to investigate whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice, promoting the state of mindfulness along with attendant emotional and attentional phenomena. We hypothesized that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing. A sample of 51 college students engaged in either a mindful or control dishwashing practice before completing measures of mindfulness, affect, and experiential recall. Mindful dishwashers evidenced greater state mindfulness, increases in elements of positive affect (i.e., inspiration), decreases in elements of negative affect (i.e., nervousness), and overestimations of dishwashing time. Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities.

Keywords

Mindfulness Well-being Positive affect Negative affect Time perception Dishwashing