The unexpected side effects of using vintage dishes

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A month or two ago, after a few visits to Cadeaux Bakery in Gastown for some delectable desserts, I found myself longing to make a switch from our regular, old, boring dinnerware to fancy, vintage china instead. I put my intention out to the universe in the most efficient way: by tweeting it.

Days later, I was over at my folks’ place and chatting with my mom. Lo and behold, she told me that she had a full set of my grandmother’s china that she wasn’t using. As we dug it out, she found all kinds of other mismatched pieces from various sets and I was the willing and happy recipient of it all.

As soon as we got home, I moved the current dishes out of the cupboards and into storage and packed the new (old) pieces in. Of course, most if not all of the china is rimmed in gold so none of it can safely go in the dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand is no big deal since we both lived without dishwashers before we moved in together and we are kind of still used to it.

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I noticed that once we started using the new (old) dishes, we started using the dishwasher remarkably less. When we were already washing a couple of plates, we might as well wash a bunch of other dishes, right? It added up and it has started to take a lot longer to fill the dishwasher.

Here’s another unexpected side effect: happiness.

From the Huffington Post Home article, How Hand-Washing The Dishes Could Make You A Happier Person:

You may be the type to put off dishwashing until the sink is jam-packed, but new scientific findings may make you more eager to clean up. A study published in the journal Mindfulness found that washing dishes mindfully could be therapeutic, increasing feelings of well-being and decreasing nervousness.

To wash dishes “mindfully” means to do so with intention and focus, contemplating the sensory experiences of the act like the warmth of the water, the feel of dishes and the smell of the soap.

This is precisely what some study participants were instructed to do while washing 18 dishes. The control group, on the other hand, washed 18 dishes without the mindfulness instruction. Instead, they were given directives relating to proper dishwashing techniques. The experimental group reported increased positivity and decreased nervousness, while the control group reported no change.

I’m going to start being more mindful next time I’m doing the dishes and other chores. I mean, it has got to be good practice to add mindfulness (and happiness) to other household tasks as well. I’m all for anything that helps make them less painful!

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