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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soapbox: Happiness is Contagious!

Did you know that if a friend of your's who lives two miles away from you is happy, you too are 22% more likely to be happy.  If your friend lives less than half a mile away, you are 42% more likely to be happy! Happiness is contagious and now there is indication of proof! Two scientists [one from Harvard and one from UCSD] collected data from almost 5,000 people over a 20-year study of the spread of happiness.

Remember the Six Degrees of Separation game? Well, the Fowler and Christakis study found that the happiness contagion holds up for three degrees of separation! The slide at left is their diagram of a Framingham, MA social network.  The individuals are color coded in gradations from blue for sadness to yellow for happiness.

Check out this website to read a 2008 professional article by the two scientists describing the study and its results. ["Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: A longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study" published December 4, 2008 in the British Medical Journal/BMJ]

Check out this website to see a short blogpost describing and reacting to the research study.

Remember when your parents told you to stay away from negative people, cause they would bring you down; to play with happy, cheerful people?  Turns out, they were wise once again.  So, now we have scientific evidence that tells us that by being happy [especially being openly happy] WILL make other people happy too! Happiness IS contagious!! Go "infect" the world!

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