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6 Degrees of Happiness

6 Degrees of Happiness

A 20 year long study finds that happiness is contagious and spreads further than immediate friends and family. Researchers found that happiness can even filter its effects beyond people who do not know each other.

Over 4,700 people were followed over 20 years for the happiness study.

“You would think that your emotional state would depend on your own choices and actions and experience,? said Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociologist at Harvard University who helped conducted the study, “But it also depends on the choices and actions and experiences of other people, including people to whom you are not directly connected. Happiness is contagious.?- Star Tribune

After hearing about the study, a person is likely to ask, “Well, what about sadness or depression?? The same study found that depression is also contagious but not nearly to the extent of happiness.

When one individual in a network becomes happy, the likeliness that a sibling, friend or spouse would become happy increased 8 to 34 percent, the researchers found.

Sources:

Star Tribune- “Turns out happiness spreads like the flu? By Rob Stein of the Washington Post