Forget yoga, meditation or self-help apps! Brits find relaxation in working on their car

Male hand cleaning car side window with microfiber rag, wiping auto glass dry with cloth during professional vehicle washing outdoors.

A new study has discovered a host of seemingly everyday activities that are likely to ease stress and anxiety, with making tea or coffee (49 percent), watering plants (31 percent) and working on a car (18 percent) among the top 30 stress busters according to eBay who commissioned the research.

A staggering 91 percent agree that you can find relaxation in everyday tasks, with two thirds (66 percent) highlighting the car as a big stress and anxiety busting area. Not only is working on a car a big source of relaxation, but also helps owners reduce costs, with a third (31%) spending up to two hours tinkering on their car, and 13% saving up to £150 pounds.

The survey also found giving the car a polish (42 percent), performing routine maintenance (41 percent), and fixing and changing the headlights (19 percent) are the most relaxing vehicle related tasks. One in four (21 percent) go a step further and admit spending more time tinkering with their car or motorbike than on any other hobbies and tasks.

Echoing the classic 70s book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” the study found that tactile tasks with an end product are one of the most satisfying of all (49 percent), so it is no surprise that crocheting (14 percent), cleaning the car out (12 percent) and making flatpack furniture (six percent) were also on the list.

The study also found that over half 56% believe that everyday tasks can actually be MORE relaxing than meditation or yoga, with jobs that don’t require any thought (53 percent) being the best for finding a moment of calm. More than a third (37 percent) find activities that save them money the most stress free.

Surprisingly, a host of household chores even make an appearance, including folding the washing (25 percent), doing the ironing (23 percent), going to the supermarket (20 percent) and even sorting out the recycling (13 percent).

On average Brits have 10 moments of relaxation a day, with one in three (33 percent) claiming they are having less stress-free moments now compared to three years ago. Half (49 percent) wish they had more periods of calm in their lives.

Money (58 percent), work (37 percent), family (34 percent) and health (25 percent) are the areas of life that cause the most stress.

Even though 58 percent agree that technology has made it harder to relax, watching TV (71 percent) is the nation’s favourite way to switch off, along with going for a walk (58 percent), watching a film (48 percent) and reading a book or magazine (45 percent). A third (36 percent) have a bath, while 35 percent tuck into a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

Psychologist Dr Lisa Dorn, comments on the findings, comments, “It is interesting to see from this research, how many of the simplest, seemingly mundane tasks in life, are actually calming and therapeutic. From a psychological perspective, people get into a zone, or mental state, in which they don’t need to think and are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus and enjoyment. It’s as if action and consciousness melt together as people concentrate on the task rather than their worries and concerns.

“When messing around under the bonnet of their car for example, a balance between the perceived challenges of the task and one’s perceived skills takes place and increases the chances of getting into ‘the zone’. These everyday tasks can also release endorphins which relate to “pleasure centres” in the brain, creating a general feeling of well-being. Regularly increasing your endorphin levels can also boost your mood and brain function and ward off anxiety and stress”.

Laura Richards, eBay category lead for vehicle Parts and Accessories said: “I’m not surprised that people find relaxation and relieve stress by doing ordinary household chores and hobbies. Working on a project car or doing those little bits of DIY on your daily run-around, not only provide that sense of achievement people enjoy but also help reduce costs. At eBay we have everything people could possibly need to tinker on their car. For tips and inspiration go check out eBay’s auto community hub page.”

30 everyday activities that Brits find relaxing:

  1. Making a cup of tea or coffee – 49%
  2. Watering plants – 31%
  3. Chopping food like herbs – 31%
  4. Hanging out the washing – 28%
  5. Mowing the lawn – 26%
  6. Folding the washing – 25%
  7. Vacuuming – 25%
  8. Driving – 23%
  9. Painting walls – 23%
  10. Weeding the garden – 23%
  11. Ironing – 23%
  12. Wiping the kitchen surfaces – 21%
  13. Walking around the supermarket – 20%
  14. Working on your car – 18%
  15. Making the bed – 18%
  16. Washing the car – 17%
  17. Sorting out life admin – 14%
  18. Crocheting/knitting – 14%
  19. Sorting the recycling – 13%
  20. Watching the washing machine cycle – 13%
  21. Grating cheese – 12%
  22. Cleaning a tiled floor – 11%
  23. Mashing boiled potatoes – 10%
  24. Sweeping – 9%
  25. Cleaning the windows – 9%
  26. Trimming the edges of the lawn – 9%
  27. Tidying your garage – 6%
  28. Shining your shoes – 6%
  29. Making flatpack furniture – 6%
  30. Chopping wood – 6%

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