While some people see cleaning as a normal chore they need to do, there are others who find it helpful for relieving their stress. Aside from creating a tidy and relaxing environment, cleaning can serve as a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is your innate ability to be aware of your surroundings and what you are doing. Here’s how simple techniques like decluttering and cleaning can help you cultivate mindfulness habits.
It Helps Clear Your Mind
Decluttering doesn’t just clean your space; it can also help clear your mind. Organizing and tidying up your home requires gentle concentration, which can let your brain rest and calm any wandering thoughts. Cleaning is like meditating as it promotes stillness and ease. When you are folding clothes, your brain relaxes because you only need to follow a certain pattern of movements to complete the task. While your hands follow a specific rhythm, your mind gets to slow down—which gives you a sense of peace.
It Requires You to Stay Present
Doing household chores allows you to be present and busy with the task at hand rather than letting your mind be consumed by worry. You get caught up with the physical sensations of what you’re currently doing. When you are washing the dishes, you feel the temperature of the water, you see the suds it creates, and you pay attention to how you scrub the plates. During this time, your mind is preoccupied with the task and does not wander.
It is similar to doing mindfulness meditation, where you need to be aware of your surroundings and what you are feeling. Both need you to concentrate on what is happening now. Such practice is helpful to everyone who wants to train their brain to stay present, especially for people recovering from mental illnesses. In Arizona, many treatment centers like a drug rehab Phoenix residents go to recommend patients to practice mindfulness so they can be deliberate about focusing their thoughts and energy on their recovery. This can help them realize their progress rather than worry about their future or agonize over their past actions.
It Improves Your Ability to Focus
As you practice being present in your cleaning activities, it also helps enhance your concentration. As a mindfulness exercise, decluttering and cleaning your home train your brain to focus on the current task. Sweeping or mopping the floor requires repetitive actions, which can make you engrossed in the chore. Organizing your desk can also help minimize visual distractions.
Similar to physical practice, exercising your brain regularly enhances its ability to do certain things. When you make cleaning a daily habit, you also strengthen your mental capacity to stay focused and not easily get distracted.
It Gives a Sense of Control
Life is full of uncertainties but your home and immediate environment are things that you have a lot of control over. You can do small chores like dusting the shelves or wiping down the kitchen counter to help remind you that your actions can have a large impact. Also, having a daily cleaning routine can give back a sense of regularity after a distressing event. For instance, someone who is grieving might find that doing the laundry daily helps them gain a foothold of control and allows them to enjoy other activities with their family. In addition, doing household chores can be empowering and can make you feel productive, especially after seeing the improvement in an area.
It Teaches You Gratitude
You can use cleaning to express gratitude. When you make your bed or clean your cooking pots, you get to show your appreciation for having a comfortable sleeping space and being able to enjoy good food. You learn to value what you have now, which can motivate you to take better care of your material belongings. When you do, you also recognize the efforts you’ve made to acquire your possessions. In addition, cleaning might lead you to discover lost items that remind you of fond memories or might even rekindle your interest in old hobbies.
You Learn to Let Go
Decluttering is a good way to learn about letting things go. When cleaning your home, you are bound to throw or give away items you no longer use or need. When you are sorting a pile of mail or documents, you check which are worth keeping and discard the others. By focusing only on what’s necessary, you can practice removing any emotional attachment you might have with certain objects. This also allows you to invite change by creating space for new things.
There is a sense of accomplishment each time you finish cleaning, whether it is the desk in your workplace or your bedroom at home. While organizing a space creates a stress-free and relaxing environment, it can also help improve mindfulness. So next time you wash the dishes or do the laundry, don’t just think of them as regular household chores. Make them part of your mindfulness practice.