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For the 52% of Americans Who Are Unhappy at Work, This May Help

More than half of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, according to the annual Conference Board job-satisfaction survey. But it's not the work that's makes 52% of Americans unhappy at work - it's how they deal with it while they're there.

Boredom, perfectionism, anxiety and impatience make people hate what they do. And feeling physically bad - from sitting too long, caving in to stress and eating poorly at work - just make matters worse.

Shaman-healer Brant Secunda and world-champion Ironman Mark Allen, authors of the new book Fit Soul, Fit Body: Nine Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, offer strategies people can put into practice tomorrow that will make a difference in the way they feel about their job and being there.
No. 1. Stand up to the office chair. It's great that people have the newest ergonomic chair. But if they sit in it all day, they'll reduce their amount of fat-burning enzyme called lipoprotein lipase by a whopping 94%. To keep this enzyme active and burning fat requires only 30 minutes a day of standing up to read, to talk on thephone or to consult with a co-worker.

No. 2. Embrace the power of repetition.  If people struggle with boredom from doing the same activities over and over at work, here's a trick that helps top athletes train every day for hours at a time. Embrace the repetition. Start to see chipping away at the same tasks day after day as powerful ways to reach financial and professional goals. This is similar to the way ancestors could plant an entire hillside with corn by hand, one kernel at a time, year after year.

No. 3. Brush away impatience and frustration. When people are impatient with a task that's taking too long, or frustrated with a complication such as a technology glitch, here's a simple way to quickly reset the workplace mood. People should think of whatever they are doing at that moment - say, consulting the user's guide for the computer - as the top priority instead of the means to an end.

No. 4. Change the routine to prevent monotony. Like the idea of cross training for athletes, workers can stay mentally fit by mixing up the routine. If people work 9-5, try working 8-4. If they always check their e-mail first thing, do something else for the first hour. Rearrange the office. Try making calls instead of e-mailing.

No. 5. Stop procrastinating for five minutes.  If people put off working on large projects or tasks as the deadline gets closer, and then eat themselves up with worry at night obsessing about them, they can try this: Commit to working on it for just five minutes. That's it. Once they start, they might find it's not that bad. But even if it is, it will be easier to complete if they've been chipping away at it for five minutes a day.

No. 6. Slow down to get faster.  Fitness scientists know that working out at a comfortable level is more beneficial for health than pushing through at top speed or effort. People can apply this principle to workplace activity as well. If they consciously slow down, take time to think things through, finish one task completely before going to the next, perhaps even ignore incoming calls and e-mails temporarily, they'll find that their productivity will increase along with their happiness.

No. 7. Take time to feed and water one's self. Don't skip breakfast. And eat small, healthful snacks every couple of hours, such as fruit, yogurt, almonds, carrots and peppers, nut-butter sandwiches, dark chocolate and soup. Keep a liter of water on the desk and sip it all day long. Watch how energized you feel - especially midafternoon, the time you normally crave a sweet and some coffee.

No. 8. Weightlift for the soul. "Weightlifting for the soul" is giving up negative thoughts that weigh you down. The next time a negative thought comes into your mind, force yourself to restate it to yourself in a positive way. So, "This is too hard" becomes "I have all it takes to make it through." Or "This is a waste of time" becomes "What can I learn right now?" 

No. 9. Look at the now. Are you a perfectionist? Do you beat yourself up for not doing things as masterfully as you think you should? Try this: Ask yourself whether you are doing the best you can right now with everything going on in your life. Instead of focusing on absolute perfection, make the goal to give the best you can in the moment, even if you know on another day it might be better.

No. 10. Keep making deposits. View physical, emotional and spiritual health as a bank account that should always be tended to. Being healthy goes hand in hand with being happy - in and outside of work. Every day that people are sedentary, eat bad food or indulge in negative thinking is a withdrawal. Every day they eat well, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, exercise and are optimistic is a deposit.

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