Five ways to increase happiness (and decrease stress) at work no.1: Choice

Five ways to increase happiness (and decrease stress) at work no.1: Choice
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 30th Apr 2012

Are you happy at work? Go on, be honest. Do you start each day with a deep sense that you're doing exactly what you want to be doing? Do you feel you are equipped with the tools to be resilient and positive in the face of stressful situations, or do you get knocked off centre regularly?

Sinead MacManus of 8fold

But how can we work more productively, be happier and decrease our stress at work? Every day this week, we're going to feature a happiness tip from wellbeing expert Sinead MacManus (pictured left, looking happy). A yoga fanatic, Sinead is the founder of 8fold and author of The Business Yogi: How to be Happy at Work. Here's her first tip for bringing a little more Zen to your daily routine**.**

1. Choose your work carefully

A big source of stress is working on projects or with clients that don't align to your core values, or with your natural strengths. Take a hard look at the work you are doing. Are there projects you are working on that make you feel uneasy? Are you struggling with areas of your work that you don't have a natural aptitude for? Remember, you have the power to change your situation - you don't have a boss forcing you into a corner. Try outsourcing tasks you find difficult or uninteresting to a virtual assistant.

The importance of wellbeing at work

A survey of UK employees last year found that more than 50 per cent of them were unhappy at work, and work-based stress has become the most common reason for a worker being signed off long-term sick, writes Sinead. In fact, workplace stress eclipses stroke, heart attack, cancer and back problems as a reason to stay off work, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. As entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelancers, we are luckier than most. We get to choose where and when we work, we control our own workflow, and, most of the time, we get to choose who we work with. But owning your own business is not without its stresses - we are solely reliant on ourselves to bring in a pay-check, we work longer hours than we ever did as an employee, and many of us find it hard to strike a balance between work and life. I read a recent article on the Guardian website on the top five regrets of the dying. An Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives, and recording their dying epiphanies in a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Do you know what the number two regret of the dying was?

"I wish I hadn't worked so hard."

Don't be that entrepreneur who says, "I wish I hadn't worked so hard." Take action today!

Share your happiness tips!

We'd love to know what you do that makes you happy or reduces your workplace stress. Please let us know in the comments below or in our forum and we'll pick a selection for a fresh happiness post next week.

About the contributor

Sinead Mac Manus is the founder of 8fold, a little company with a big dream - to change the way people work. As an experienced trainer, speaker and author, she writes regularly on productivity, digital balance and happiness on her website. Her new book, The Business Yogi: How to be Happy at Work was published on the 26th April. Sinead says she's also a yoga fanatic and tries to bring a Zen-like quality to her daily life, but normally fails due to drinking too many double espressos.

Main photo credit: Ben Birbeck

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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