Friday, December 05, 2008
Happiness is contagious, research finds
Who knew we are responsible for so much joy and true happiness.
They say misery loves company, but the same may be even more true of happiness.
In a study published online today by the British Medical Journal, scientists from Harvard University and UC San Diego showed that happiness spreads readily through social networks of family members, friends and neighbors.
Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself, the study found. A happy friend of a friend increases your odds of happiness by 9.8%, and even your neighbor's sister's friend can give you a 5.6% boost.
"Your emotional state depends not just on actions and choices that you make, but also on actions and choices of other people, many of which you don't even know," said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and medical sociologist at Harvard who co-wrote the study.