How we act is important, not only to our spouse, but also towards and around our children. Our children are sponges on emotions, but a study shows that all people around us are, (except our co-workers). Happy people are inclined to be more creative, productive and healthier.
One Big Happy Family!
Happiness spreads through clusters of people, such as husbands, wives, sisters, brothers or neighbors. In an article posted in the Washington Post about a study done by BMJ, who are professors from Harvard and University of California, San Diego, highlights the contagious effects of a smile.
Put On Your Happy Face, (For Others)
The 20 year study followed 4,700 people, found that people who are happy or become happy elevates the chances of happiness to someone they know or may not know. It denotes the theory that your happiness and mood is a personal choice, but in fact, are influenced by others, even strangers have an impact.
“It’s a pathfinding article,” said Martin E.P. Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist. “It’s totally original, and the findings are striking.”
Better Chances For A Happy Family
The study shows how ones happiness, for up to a year is affected by our connections. It also found that unhappiness can spread from one to another, but the “infectiousness” of the emotion is considerably weaker.
Three Degrees To ‘Happy’
Unlike previous studies, that document the fact that happiness can influence others, this study shows that its effect is for an extended period. The article states, “When one person in the network became happy, the chances that a friend, sibling, spouse, or next-door neighbor would become happy increased between 8 percent and 34 percent, the researchers found. The effect continued through three degrees of separation, although it dropped progressively from about 15 percent to 10 percent to about 6 percent before disappearing.”
Happiness Is Touchable
Also spreadable is the obesity factor, which can spread over long distances, but unlike this contagion, happiness is only effective in close clusters. In addition, happiness is not contagious in the workplace. One person can be extremely happy at anothers expense.
The Social Network Factor
Studying the effects of the social network can explain why people in some countries are happier than their counterparts in other countries.
Words For The Wise
“Researchers should be cautious in attributing correlations in health outcomes of close friends in social network effects,” wrote Ethan Cohen-Cole of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Jason M. Fletcher of Yale University in an accompanying study. Their research used data from a large federal survey to show that acne, headaches and even height could appear to spread through social networks if not analyzed properly. “The methods of detecting ‘social network effects’ of health outcomes commonly found in the recent medical literature might produce effects where none exists.”
In conclusion, unhappiness is less contagious than happiness. The studies findings support the skill of cooperation and liken it to an orchestra tuning up.
“Laughter and singing and smiling tune the group emotionally,” Seligman said. “They get them on the same wavelength so they can work together more effectively as group.”