How can cleaning your home calm your mind?
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a freshly clean house, but what other psychological benefits do you get from housework? It may be more than you think!
Mindfulness is a term that gets bandied about a lot these days, but it is in fact very simple. Mindfulness is simply a matter of focussing on what you are doing at the present moment rather than thinking about something else. We all know that feeling of incessantly replaying an argument, or worrying about possible outcomes of something that hasn’t happened yet, and working ourselves into a tizz with nothing but our own thoughts! A repetitive, mundane task like polishing or sweeping can lull the mind into stillness and rest, which reduces stress.
Mindfulness teachers often encourage focusing your full attention onto tasks that you do every day, and really noticing every single thing that is happening in the present moment. By focusing in this way, you strengthen your ability to attend to the present moment, rather than worrying about the future or chewing over the past.
When things feel overwhelming, an undemanding task such as simply putting things away can have a soothing effect on the mind, and often we find that is when solutions appear. How often have you niggled away at a work problem only to find it all becomes clear the minute you stop thinking about it? The sheer monotony of cleaning often lets the mind work more efficiently without any interference from you!
Declutter to de-stress
There’s no getting around the fact that mess equals stress. Whether it’s for practical reasons – forever running late because the car keys have gone walkabout again – or simply aggravation caused by a sense of disorder, taking some time to find – or create – a place for everything is both calming and satisfying.
As actress Helena Bonham Carter told the Radio Times, “if you put your house in order it gets your head in order as well.”
Scrub away stress
There’s nothing like a bit of elbow grease for working out negative emotions. Still fuming after you were cut up on the motorway earlier? Purge that anger by tackling a caked up oven or beating some soft furnishings. There’s also a symbolic satisfaction in tossing rubbish out: visualise whatever was bothering you going into the bag and slam the wheelie bin lid on it.