We’ve all experienced the calming effect of a clean and organized living space. But is cleaning more than just a chore? Could it actually be therapeutic?
In recent years, many people have turned to cleaning as a way to destress and improve their mental health. The rise of the “cleaning influencer” on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok has only added to this trend, with many people finding inspiration and motivation from watching others clean their homes.
But is there any science to back up the idea that cleaning can be a form of therapy? Let’s take a closer look.
Research has shown that there is a strong link between our physical environment and our mental health. A cluttered and disorganized space can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression, while a clean and tidy space can have the opposite effect. One study found that people who described their homes as “cluttered” were more likely to report feeling depressed or fatigued, while those who described their homes as “restful” were more likely to report feeling happy and energized.
Cleaning can also provide a sense of control and accomplishment, which can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety or depression. In a study published in the journal Mindfulness, participants who completed a mindfulness-based cleaning task reported reduced symptoms of anxiety and improved mood.
For some people, cleaning can also serve as a form of meditation. The repetitive motions of cleaning can be soothing and calming, similar to the way that meditation or yoga can be. In fact, a study published in the journal PLOS One found that participants who engaged in “mindful dishwashing” – that is, washing dishes while focusing on the sensory experience – reported reduced nervousness and increased feelings of inspiration.
Of course, cleaning is not a substitute for professional therapy or medication for those who need it. But for many people, the act of cleaning can be a simple and effective way to improve their mental health and well-being.
In conclusion, while more research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic benefits of cleaning, there is certainly evidence to suggest that it can be a form of therapy for some people. Whether it’s the sense of control, the accomplishment of a job well done, or the calming effect of a tidy space, there are many reasons why cleaning can be good for our mental health.
If you’re interested in using cleaning as a way to improve your own mental health, try incorporating it into your routine on a regular basis. Start with small tasks like making your bed or doing the dishes, and gradually work your way up to larger projects like deep-cleaning your entire home. And remember – cleaning should never be a source of stress or anxiety. If you find that it’s causing more harm than good, it’s okay to take a break and seek out other forms of therapy or self-care.