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It's possible to make yourself happier at work

Having a friend at work makes life easier.

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If you’re like most Americans, you spend most of your waking hours at your workplace — which means that you should try your hardest to make those hours happy ones.

Gretchen Rubin became a best-selling author five years ago with her book, “The HappinessProject,” in which she experimented with different tactics to create a happy life.

“A lot of times with happiness there is a lot of attention paid to big, transformative events like, ‘I’m going to climb Kilimanjaro,’” says Rubin. “But it’s important to look at ordinary life, the little things you can work in that don’t take a lot of time or money.”

We recently sat down with Rubin to get her thoughts on simple things workers can do to make their days a little brighter.

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Have a work buddy:“When [researchers] talk to people who are happy at work, one of the most common things is that they have a friend at work,” Rubin notes. It’s always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to take coffee breaks with.

Try to find a supportive boss:“Choose your boss carefully, if you can,” advises Rubin. “Because having a boss you feel cares about your success is very important to happiness.”

Take yourlunch break:Getting some space is important. “When you walk outside and you have some distance, you’re reminded that it’s not the biggest deal in the world if this guy handed in his report a day late,” Rubin points out.

Make sure you are comfortable:Literally. “Is your desk the right size?” she asks. “Are you hunching your shoulders so that you are getting a backache every night?” Making little adjustments to your posture and finding a comfortable office chair can make a big difference. “Make sure you are comfortable in your body, because if you are uncomfortable it wears you out,” Rubin adds.

A new online tool: Rubin is a spokeswoman for MS Blueprint, a new online tool for people with multiple sclerosis that helps them create action plans to reach personal goals. I really believe you can do these simple, manageable things in everyday life that change the quality of your life, says Rubin. MS is an unpredictable disease[but Blueprint allows users to say:] 'Let me think of what my life is really like and what I can do to make my life better.'"

Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.

 
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