We all know about the cleansing power of water. From baptism to Olay commercials enticing us to "Wash away our day", there are few symbols that so so universal.
But a new study shows how rituals of washing affect behavior and emotions when we don't even realize it.
I heard about this study on NPR.Done at University of Michigan, it was reported in the Telegraph
The researchers think that the act seems to psychologically draw a line under the decision. Researcher Spike Lee, from the University of Michigan, who led the study, said that washing your hands seemed to remove doubts about whether you had done the right thing.
"Our studies show that washing your hands can symbolically "wipe away" these concerns," he said.
"Once you washed your hands, you seem at ease with your decision and no longer need to do the mental work that makes the chosen alternative look much better than the rejected one."
When I can't seem to let go of work - a bath sure helps! And this study shows its not just me that feels this way.
This made me think of all the behaviors that I do when stressed. These hold symbolic power too- and there for most likely affect how I feel about my past, and the decisions in the future. Like fixing my make up - does that affect how confident I am? Does cleaning my kitchen before bed make me sleep easier- emotionally cleaning up the days stress?
And what about people who live in clutter?
Obviously it opens up a whole range of questions about socialized behavior, motivation, and emotional states. It just confirms what so many already know - that rituals have a real power on our lives, often even if we are not conscious of it.
Now I just hope I won't over-think the cleansing power of my bath too much!