Allison Aubrey at NPR files a story this morning that happiness it turns out is truly contagious. She reports on the research by Nicholas Christakis (Harvard Medical School) and James Fowler (UCSD) that shows how happiness spreads:
What we found through a variety of analysis is that happiness always spreads person to person, whereas unhappiness only sometimes spreads.
The pass-along rate for happiness not only appears to be higher, it also continues further, spreading up to 3 hops along one’s social network. When there’s good, people tend to spread it. Given 30-50% of our waking hours are spent working, work life has a significant impact on what’s shared. If you’re doing what you love, there’s a greater likelihood you’re boat can lift others, and others may do the same for you.
Aubrey interviews Robert Provine from the University of Maryland who rightly cautions happiness, and mood at large, are often momentary and of course influenced by situational events. Nevertheless, if our days and years are filled with anything, it’s other people and a vast collection of moments. Christakis and Fowler show us one way how the people around us can impact the moments we have, for the better.