Happiness is contagious! Surround yourself with happy friends or with friends who have happy friends. A research recently published in the British Medical Journal says happiness can quickly spread in a viral way within one's social network. The study used longitudinal network analysis, analyzing data related to 4739 individuals from 1983 to 2003, and found that when a person was happy, their friends became more happy too.
The researchers studied clusters of happy and unhappy people in the network, and discovered that the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation. In other words, people who are surrounded by many happy friends are more likely to become happy in the future. Moreover, those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy too. Considering that effects decay with time and geographical separation, a significant spread of happiness was found between friends or siblings who live within a mile of distance, coresident spouses, and next door neighbours, but not between co-workers.
Once again, it seems we do are social animals, and thus our happiness is not an individual, but rather a collective phenomenon.
Let's spread happiness!