Friendly coworkers can add years to your life, study says

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Like your coworkers? A new study revealed that good-natured office antics, water cooler chats, and generally enjoying the company of your coworkers can add years to your life.

In a study from Tel Aviv University in Israel, results showed that having friendly and supportive workmates was associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause over a 20-year period. The study, announced May 10, was published in the May issue of the journal Health Psychology.

The study involved 820 Israeli adults who worked in a variety of industries, including finance, insurance, and manufacturing, among others. Most worked 8.8 hours a day, and the subjects were followed from 1988 to 2008.

In the study, people aged 38 to 43 showed the strongest link between their relationship with their coworkers and its impact on their long-term health.

"Peer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality," the researchers said in the study.

What about your boss? Interestingly, they found no real connection between friendly bosses and long-term health benefits.

Research published last month found that working long hours can increase your risk of heart disease. Another recent study showed that people who work in poorly paid, demanding jobs can suffer more mental strain than those who are unemployed.

Need to build camaraderie with your colleagues? Readers Digest magazine suggests that you can start by saying a cheery hello in the morning rather than skulking to your desk with your head down. Also, don't be afraid to engage in small talk, join office team sports, and ask others' opinions regarding work projects.

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Access the study's abstract: