Just the title of Annie Murphy Paul's article makes me relax just a bit. While the study shows that people were happier doing mindless, repetitive tasks, most people think that kind of work is demeaning. But with more engaged work came more stress.
I love this quote from Dan Willingham that Paul cites from his book Why Don't Kids Like School?: “Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not designed for thinking. It’s designed to save you from having to think, because the brain is actually not very good at thinking. Thinking is slow and unreliable.”
Worth pondering. I certainly find myself giving the kitchen a good cleaning, when I know I have a deadline to meet! I can't say I enjoy cleaning, but I enjoy the mindless state it instills...sometimes.