Housework therapy

In the modern world, most of our goals require building momentum. It takes months of work before any results become apparent; it can take years before we reach the goal. As a result, we end up depressed, feeling as if nothing we do makes any difference.

In order to maintain the feelings of confidence, self‑efficacy, and self‑worth, our minds need to experience success and achievement frequently. There is not enough of that in our daily schedule. How can we enrich it?

Ideally, confidence-maintaining tasks would:

  • need to be done frequently, at least once a week
  • do no harm if done more often
  • require relatively little concentration and physical effort
  • easy to do automatically (for a skilled person)
  • take up to an hour
  • when finished, result in perceivable (visible, audible, palpable) improvement
  • be possible to perform at home
  • not require a team
  • not require specialised equipment

In other words, housework, and particularly cleaning.

Cleaning (doing the dishes by hand, laundry, dusting, putting things away) is especially good because it doesn't produce anything. Too much cooked food spoils; too many cakes baked make you fat; plants planted require looking after. But if you clean, there are no undesirable side effects.

Note that I included a disclaimer: tasks easy to do automatically for a skilled person. Housework is a skill (although our culture rarely notices or values people who are good at it.) At first, like with any skill that needs learning, people are inefficient and often frustrated. When they keep at it, create their own system and rhythm, they discover that cleaning is a form of meditation.

Categories: momentum · mental health