Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Contagious Happiness

Be Happy by *inObrAS I’ve been listening to the Scientific American 60 Second Science podcast. I’ve found a bunch of fascinating things, but one that struck me today was about happiness.

Apparently Happiness is Contagious. Here’s the interesting part:

Researchers looked at twenty years' worth of data on more than 5,000 individuals and found that when any one person was happy, their friends became more likely to share that joy. Benefits spread out to three degrees of separation, meaning a better chance at happiness for not only their friends' friends, but also their friends' friends' friends.

Apparently it works only when you’re physically close to the person. So my having 300 Facebook friends doesn’t seem to help.

It made me think though about just how happy I am. I like to think I am often upbeat and spreading happiness, even when people may not really want bubbly.

People do lighten up when they’re around happy people. Even when a naturally happy person is subdued and serious, knowing about the underlying happiness and optimism can lighten our day.

So, beyond surrounding yourself with happy people, what will it take for you to be the happy one? What specific steps can you take to be the person who creates other happy people even three degrees removed?


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