We have all experienced being in the presence of someone in a bad mood and felt how oppressive it is. Being around angry, anxious, unhappy people can really affect your happiness.
In 2008, after a 20-year study, researchers found just how contagious happiness is. I find these results absolutely fascinating and encouraging. Those living within a mile of a happy friend had a 25% greater chance of being happy over that 20 year period. If you are fortunate enough to have a happy neighbor, your likelihood of happiness increases by 34%! The spouse of a happy person is 8% more likely to be happy. That one surprised me. I would expect the effect on one who lives with you to be greater.
They also found that happiness spreads through social networks by up to 3 degrees. So friends of friends of friends can all benefit from one person’s happiness. Some people are just naturally more optimistic and “happier” than others but there are many proven ways to improve your mood. Most involve movement of some sort and especially when practiced out in nature. Practicing an attitude of gratitude is another powerful way as well as laughter and just getting some sunshine.
People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. Longitudinal statistical models suggest that clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals.
So that tells me that we can develop a happier attitude within ourselves and then be carriers to those around us and create happiness clusters. I think this is especially important during these times we are living in.
Are you a naturally happy, optimistic person? How do you feel about being a happiness carrier?
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