Among all the hype for hygge and mindfulness, have you ever thought that some of your everyday tasks could have the same effect? Now, a leading psychologist has suggested simple tasks, such as ironing, could be just the stress-busters the modern world needs.
If you’re thinking that this sounds like a convenient excuse for your other half to leave you with that mound of ironing to do, then bear with us. In an article for the Daily Mail, Niels Birbaumer pointed out that so much of modern life requires high levels of thinking that repetitive tasks can actually help us to switch off.
Some of the benefits associated with ‘emptying’ the brain include increasing feelings of wellbeing, guarding against depression and boosting the immune system. It’s safe to say that these are things we all want to achieve and who knew you could do it while ironing?!
Allowing your mind to wander while getting the creases out of those clothes can help you to work through the little niggles there’s not been time to think about. It’s well-known that good ideas often come to people while in the shower, which is a similar principle, with our brains solving problems when they’re allowed the space to do so.
While ironing could provide the perfect time to allow your brain to destress, this only works if the task itself isn’t causing you woes. Be sure to keep on top of your ironing and not leave it to the last-minute before the working week starts and you really need that shirt for tomorrow.
Employ the right tools for the job, with a steam generator to make it quick and easy. Labouring unnecessarily over creases will not improve your wellbeing, so don’t do it. And when it comes to those tricky items, it may be worth investing in a garment steamer to avoid yourself a trip to the dry cleaners and a hefty bill.
And if you’re still not convinced that doing the ironing will improve your mental health, then think about how you feel once it’s done. There’s nothing quite like a task that shows tangible results and in modern life, that can often be hard to find.
As soon as you finish clearing your email inbox, more messages start to come in; feeding the kids only sees them being hungry again two hours later; and dishes mount up again when the draining board is still full.
Looking at the empty ironing basket can bring much joy, as well as the knowledge that you’ll find a wardrobe full of pristine clothes when you go to get dressed in the morning. Ironing out the creases is so satisfying, in fact, that it has become a metaphor for striving towards a better life, so embrace it and enjoy the chance to ‘empty’ your brain.