Suppose you were given the choice of hanging around with happy hearty people or slugging it out with the depressed gloomy grouches, which will you choose? And why?
Well, chances are, most people do prefer the smiling faces with that sincere joyous mood than to see the frowns on the facials.
It’s little wonder that we are so driven to want to be happy. Perhaps the journey towards happiness might be a bit mystical and obscure, with the unpredictable climate of changes in different life dimensions. However, being around happy people do seem to help alleviate those drowsy blues.
According to Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, who has just recently concluded a study on happiness and its interactive results, he said, “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,”
Hailing from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Christakis, a trained physician and social scientist, affirmed that, “Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”
The study by his team of researchers had analyzed data, statistics and information ranging from 1983 to 2003. It was based on the happiness of 4,739 people as well as their social connections. These included their spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors and co-workers.
It emerged with evidence that the more happy people you know and surround yourself with, the more likely you will be happier yourself. Hence, happiness is contagious, it gets “spread”.
Co-researcher, Associate Professor of Political Science, James H. Fowler from The University of California, San Diego said their research discovered the link 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.”
Drawing from further data, they determined that your neighbor’s joyfulness and delight can improve your own happiness by 34 percent. Your happy network and contacts will increase your joy by 15 percent, while your friend’s happy friend or your closed one’s elated friend adds 10 percent to your chances of being happy.
Finally, your friend’s friend’s friend, the 3rd degree contact, will add 6 percent to your personal joyfulness level. Be with any additional unhappy person, and you become unhappier by 7 percent concurrently as each negative person enter your contact.
This means that your happiness level is able to affect people around you and your close acquaintances.
A note to add, the researches are not advising that you change all melancholy your friends, but strive to work together for an improved relationship.
Extending from other previous studies, they asserted that an extra $5,000 improved your chances of happiness by 2 percent. This, Dr. Christakis, would imply that “a happy friend is worth about US $20,000”
That’s what I call a golden smile. 🙂