Contagious Happiness

The holiday season always seems to bring the best out in people;  when I was reading the New York Times this morning it made me smile even more to see the research studies of Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis of the Harvard Medical School showing just how contagious happiness is! 

Today, let us be a little kinder and recognize the profound influence we have on each and every single person we come into contact with during the day–especially our family & closest friends 3 degrees removed. 

My Daughters, A Source of My Happiness

My Daughters, A Source of My Happiness

The New York Times 


Published: December 4, 2008

How happy you are may depend on how happy your friends’ friends’ friends are, even if you don’t know them at all.

And a cheery next-door neighbor has more effect on your happiness than your spouse’s mood.

So says a new study that followed a large group of people for 20 years — happiness is more contagious than previously thought.

“Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you,” said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study, to be published Friday in BMJ, a British journal. “There’s kind of an emotional quiet riot that occurs and takes on a life of its own, that people themselves may be unaware of. Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”

In fact, said his co-author, James H. Fowler, an associate professor of political science at University of California, San Diego, their research found that “if your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.”

5 Responses to “Contagious Happiness”

  1. Randy Blosil April 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Great article, Scott. Timeless. Thank you.

  2. Arnie Wolfson June 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    So glad that you are doing this work!

  3. gigi October 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Yes, happiness is a choice, and yes, sometimes we need people around us that are NOT part of our tight inner circle to gain perspective on our presentness. We all flourish more rapidly in the light of others. We all have something to share, we are all connected,and we all hold massive power in our thoughts and actions. Let us all live the experiment of choosing joy over all else, even if we have to fake it sometimes. I find if you do this you will snap out of whatever it is that may be causing you discontent. Try it sometimes, it is quite facinating. I guarantee you will be more than pleased. Also, be aware of the synergy you create around you when you are happy. It is all sooooooooo very magical, pure, and is the state we were all meant to be in.
    Here’s to EVERYONE having a FANTABULOUS DAY, ( no, fantabulous is NOT in WEBSTER’S LOL )ciao for now, gigi @gigilive (twitter)

  4. gigi October 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    ps. You daughters are beautiful. God Bless !!

  5. ClaireNoire September 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    We need to do another photo shoot… they have grown to be even more lovely than that day…

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