Happiness is Contagious--Spread It Around!

January 21, 2010

Maybe it’s entered your mind, as it has mine, that pursuing and catching happiness might be just the tiniest bit selfish. Shouldn’t we be focusing on helping others and being responsible, upstanding members of society? Well, yes—but my guess is we are already doing those things. Even if we sometimes fall short in our own eyes, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t carve out a little happiness for ourselves. We are each individuals who deserve to be happy. Period. But on days when the feeling of being “selfish” overcomes you, remember this: there is actual scientific research that shows that happiness is “contagious.”

A study published in the British Medial Journal (click here for the entire report) found that “the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (for example, to the friends of one’s friends’ friends).” That means that if you’re happy, then it is more likely that your spouse or partner, your children, your friends, even your neighbors, will be happy, too. Some statistics from the study: living within a mile of a friend who becomes happy increases the probability that you will be happy by 25%. A live-in partner who becomes happy increases the likelihood of his or her partner’s happiness by 8%; a sibling who lives close by, by 14% and nearby neighbors got the biggest boost in likelihood of happiness—34%! Catching happiness for yourself is almost certain to make others happy, too.

What makes you happy? Is it something small, like having a half hour to read or do a crossword puzzle at the end of the day? Is it something larger, like volunteering for a cause you believe in, or working a job that you love that you feel makes a difference in the world? Take a look at your life. What’s working? What isn’t? What aren’t you doing that you would love to do? What can you stop doing that you hate? Figure out what makes you happy and go for it.

What are you waiting for? Go catch some happiness…then spread it around!

I'm happy

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  1. What a happy pooch! And I'm sure she makes you happy!!

  2. Awesome post...and big smile on my face too! :)

  3. Laure and Margaret Ann, your comments started my morning off with a smile. Thanks for spreading happiness!

  4. What a fantastic post and to stumble upon your site also make me feel like there is a bit of serendipity at work here.
    Wonderful outlook. Thank you for sharing!