If you wanted proof that being happy makes those around you happier too, then here it is. Coert Visser’s blog pointed me to this study, published earlier this month by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego: Happiness is a collective – not just individual – phenomenon.
“Happiness spreads through social networks like an emotional contagion, according to a study that looked at nearly 5,000 individuals over a period of 20 years. When an individual becomes happy, the network effect can be measured up to three degrees. One person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only his friends, but his friends’ friends, and his friends’ friends’ friends. The effect lasts for up to one year. Conversely, sadness does not spread through social networks as robustly as happiness.”