You might be able to wash away some of the negative psychological consequences of stressful experiences, according to research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
"When we engage in cleaning behavior, it involves separating residues from our body," says Spike W. S. Lee, an associate professor of management and psychology at the University of Toronto and director of the Mind and Body Lab. "This basic, physical experience of separating residues from our body can trigger a more psychological form of separation, namely, separating the residual influence of past experiences from the present. If the past experiences were stressful, then psychologically separating them from your present would reduce your stress."
The study found that people who observed or imagined cleaning behaviors tended to have reduced anxiety after completing a stress-inducing task. Researchers also discovered that engaging in cleaning was associated with a more adaptive profile of cardiovascular reactivity.The study consisted of four experiments. It included more than 3,000 participants from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.