Happiness: It’s Contagious

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 8:01

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

If you’re happy chances are your friends will be happy and their friends will be happy… and so on and so on and so on.

When was the last time you felt really happy? Maybe it was this morning, yesterday or last week. Those feelings of joy, cheer, elation, euphoria or whatever you want to call it not only made you feel great, but it affected the people around you.

Happiness spreads like wildfire, and can spread far and wide traveling from social networks from one person to another and even up to three degrees of separation, as evidenced in a recent study (yes, a study) from James Fowler of University of California at San Diego and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School.

Since this info is based on a study I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some numbers.

  • Every happy friend you have increases your own chance of being happy by 9 percent.
  • For every unhappy friend, the likelihood of happiness decreases by 7 percent.
  • You are 15 percent more likely to be happy if directly connected to a happy person
  • Happiness is 10 percent more likely if it’s the friend of a friend who is happy
  • Your chances of being happy are 6 percent if it’s the friend of a friend of a friend

Thie bottom line is: Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Not only will you be happy, but so will others in your social network.

You’ve heard the old idiom, “Misery Loves Company,” right? Well, that may not be the case according to the study. Unhappiness doesn’t spread nearly as much as happiness does.

Happiness loves company. People who are more socially connected are generally happier. Happy people hang together, they connect, and they share a bond. Happy people can inspire each other and just make us feel alive!

Be happy, don’t ever lose the laughter, and connect with people who make you feel good.

Mark Twain may have said it best, “Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.”

So remember– happiness rocks, spread the word and this post! LOL! J

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