- A survey of 2,000 Britons showed that mundane tasks are popular ways to relax
- Experts say everyday tasks can cause the brain to release endorphins
Housework such as sweeping, hanging clothes, and ironing can be more relaxing than meditation or yoga.
This is according to a survey of 2,000 Brits which found out what makes us de-stress.
Mundane tasks that don’t require much thought were voted the best way to find a moment of calm.
But the strangest thing is that making mashed potatoes, building flat furniture and simply watching the washing machine cycle are some of the tasks that Brits find most therapeutic.
More than half of people surveyed (56 percent) believe that everyday tasks can be more relaxing than meditation or yoga, according to the survey commissioned by eBay.
Mashing potatoes, building flat furniture and simply watching the washing machine cycle are some of the tasks that Brits find most therapeutic.
12 percent of people find grating cheese therapeutic; Similarly, chopping herbs and making a cup of tea helps people relax.
Unsurprisingly, half of respondents (49 percent) said making tea or coffee relieves their stress and anxiety levels.
But watering plants (31 percent), grating cheese (12 percent) and even cleaning kitchen surfaces (21 percent) also rank among the top 30 stress-busters.
The survey revealed that around half (49 percent) of people believe that tactile tasks with an end product are among the most relaxing.
So it’s no surprise that crocheting (14 percent), cleaning the car (12 percent) and making flat furniture (six percent) were also on the list.
Housework that many would consider boring were also praised for their stress-reducing effects.
Folding laundry (25 percent), ironing (23 percent), going to the supermarket (20 percent) and even sorting recycled material (13 percent) were classified as relaxing tasks.
Like meditation and yoga, mundane tasks can cause the brain to release mood-boosting hormones, says Dr Lisa Dorn, a psychologist at Cranfield University.
She said: ‘These everyday tasks can also release endorphins which relate to the “pleasure centres” in the brain, creating an overall feeling of well-being.
“Regularly increasing endorphin levels can also improve mood and brain function and prevent anxiety and stress.”
This could be because we are able to step away from the worries and concerns of life and focus on the task at hand, he says.
Dr. Dorn added: “From a psychological perspective, people enter a zone or state of mind in which they do not need to think and are completely immersed in a feeling of energized concentration and enjoyment.
“It’s as if action and awareness merge when people focus on the task instead of their worries and concerns.”
The worries occupying and stressing the minds of most Britons include money, work, family and health, the survey revealed.
On average, Brits have 10 moments of relaxation a day, and one in three (33 per cent) say they now have fewer stress-free moments compared to three years ago. Nearly half (49 percent) wish they had more calm periods in their lives.
More than half of people surveyed (58 percent) said phones and computers made it harder for them to relax, but 71 percent watch TV to disconnect.
Others said taking a long walk (58 percent), watching a movie (48 percent) and reading (45 percent) helped them relax.
30 EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES THAT THE BRITISH FIND THERAPEUTIC
- Prepare a cup of tea or coffee – 49%
- Water the plants – 31%
- Chop herbs – 31%
- Hanging clothes – 28%
- Mowing the grass – 26%
- Fold clothes – 25%
- Vacuum – 25%
- Driving – 23%
- Paint walls – 23%
- Weeding the garden – 23%
- Ironing – 23%
- Clean kitchen surfaces – 21%
- Walking through the supermarket – 20%
- Working on your car – 18%
- Making the bed – 18%
- Wash the car – 17%
- Sorting the life manager – 14%
- Crochet/knitting – 14%
- Recycling classification – 13%
- Watching the washing machine cycle – 13%
- Grated cheese – 12%
- Clean a tile floor – 11%
- Mashed potatoes – 10%
- Sweep – 9%
- Clean windows – 9%
- Trim grass edges – 9%
- Organize your garage – 6%
- Polishing your shoes – 6%
- Manufacturing of flat furniture – 6%
- Chop firewood – 6%
Source: Research commissioned by eBay of 2,000 Britons and carried out by Perspectus Global in September 2023.