Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands

Posted on November 4, 2013

Washing your hands doesn’t just keep you healthier; it has all sorts of subtle psychological effects as well.

Hand washing sends an unconscious metaphorical message to the mind: we don’t just cleanse ourselves of physical residues, we also cleanse ourselves of mental residues.

Washing your hands can wash away the feeling of failure.

1. Recover optimism

In a study by Kaspar (2012) participants who failed at a task, then washed their hands, felt more optimistic afterwards than those who didn’t.

Unfortunately washing their hands also seemed to reduce their motivation for trying the task again.

Still, hand washing can help boost optimism after a failure.

2. Feel less guilty

In the mind, dirt is associated with guilt, so theoretically washing doesn’t just remove dirt, it also removes a guilty feeling.

One study had participants think about some immoral behaviour from their past (Zhong & Liljenquist, 2006). One group were then told to use an antiseptic wipe, and another not.

Those who washed their hands after thinking about an immoral behaviour felt less guilty. The antiseptic wipe had literally wiped away their guilt.

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article

Category(s):Obsessions & Compulsions (OCD)

Source material from PsyBlog

Mental Health News

  • 6 Signs of a Codependent Relationship

    newsthumbCodependency can be recognised when two people with dysfunctional traits become worse together. The biggest issue is the belief by one or both ...

  • ODD and the Rebellious Child

    newsthumbOppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), while exhibiting symptoms that sound very much like a typical rebellious child's behavior, is a disorder that ...

  • New insights into lifetime personality chages

    newsthumbPersonality changes have been a hot topic, not only among academics but also sparks the curiosity of the layman, evident by the myriad of personality ...