In any normal house where salaried parents and children dwell, it is a common scene witnessed at times to freak out and wear our cleaning hats. This could be one of the selective benefit of OCD. It is Spring here and everywhere I hear the most dreaded phrase of Spring Cleaning. Winter makes me sloooowwww down and I am often stuck to my cozy corners. But come spring, my mind gets possessed by a clean-o-holic spirit. My house literally resembles a war zone with my boys throwing or rather stacking away everything in their direct eye vision – it is an art of boys maybe to keep all things ranging from a pen, identity cards, wallets and even combs in open spaces, be it on window sills, on the tables, on the sofas etc. When asked why can’t they keep things inside a cupboard or a drawer, I get a weird look along with the intellectual justification saying if things are kept open and visible, then it is easier to find them. Who can even bother looking inside the drawers or a cupboard for that matter! I wonder if this is the story in every house? So, to defeat this illogical statements, I sometimes act stressed-out and start my dialogues on cleanliness and how this is a responsibility of every member of the house and not just a wife’s or a mother’s.
My high energy talks sort of motivate my boys to go and dust their own little spaces for few minutes. Anyways, things get to normal within no time. But recently I was reading an interesting article which mentioned Mindful Cleaning is actually a great way to reduce stress. Most of us must have heard about mindful living or mindful eating, now what does mindful cleaning means? When we put our heart into the act of cleaning and actually enjoy the chores, we are mindfully cleaning. For e.g. while doing dishes, take a moment to inhale the scent of the soap, allow the skin to relax under the gently flowing warm water. Such cleaning not only keeps our homes health and hygienic but also reduces anxiety and can improve mental inspirations.
Healthy anxiety towards keeping things clean that which can be controlled is actually beneficial. Imagine a person getting jittery seeing the dust and rolls his sleeves up to clean things, he is not only finding an outlet to get rid of all the angst and high energy generated due to being anxious, but also cleaning his environment. Interesting isn’t it?
Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., a famous psychologist says, on a subconscious level, clutter is very likely to be linked with negative emotions (confusion, tension, irritability, worry) whereas a clean space is more likely to be linked with positive emotions (happiness, calm, a sense of well being). Deep in our minds, clutter represents all unfinished business, and this fact is so unsettling and stressful to most people causing stress, anxiety and finally leads to Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) where the person tends to become overly concerned on cleanliness and repeatedly washes his hands or has a fear of germs etc.
To keep it simple for a commoner, cleaning is a healthy habit and a great way to let out the extra energy that is bottled up in our body and mind. It is unbelievable to notice how much of cleaning we can accomplish in shorter periods of time when we are highly anxious – such are the levels of energy which needs venting out. By doing our household chores, we get rid of the anxiety coupled with super charged energy, while actually we are preserving our tolerance levels to other bigger issues of life which needs calm thinking to find realistic solutions. When I read all these, I started looking at cleaning which was otherwise a mundane task in a very different perspective. Cleaning can be great checkpoint sessions to balance stress but also helps keep our surrounding more soothing.
Happy Mindful Cleaning! 🙂