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Monday, December 8, 2008

Three Degrees of Separation

Happiness is contagious!

A study published by the British Medical Journal demonstrates that your happiness makes others happy.

In the article I posted yesterday How About Changing? I referred to the ripple effect your own life and attitude and way of being has on others. I referred to geometrical snowballing with regards to the importance of each of us recognizing the effect we can have not only on others, who are in direct contact with us, but on all those that those others are in turn, in contact with.

The above-mentioned study, discussed in an article in US News & World Report, indicates that subjects were followed over a period of 20 years.

""Our own personal happiness spreads beyond people we're directly connected to," said study co-author James Fowler, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego."

"Researchers already know that a person's attitudes affect those of other people, Fowler said. "If I smile, it increases the chances that you'll smile. We know that waiters and waitresses who smile get better tips," he added."

"But what about other people further down the line? As Fowler put it, "Is there a person-to-person effect that can spread to the whole social network?""

"The scientists found that a person's happiness is most likely to boost the happiness levels in people closest to him -- spouses, relatives, neighbors, and friends."

"But, if one person is happy, that increases the chances of happiness in a friend living within a mile by 25 percent. The "cascade" effect, as the researchers put it, continues: a friend of the friend has almost a 10 percent higher likelihood of being happy, and a friend of that friend has a 5.6 percent increased chance."

"In the other words, one person's happiness can spread outward through three degrees of separation. Those at the center of such circles may be people that "you have never met. But their mood can have a profound effect on your own mood," Fowler said." read entire article here

1 comment:

  1. This is TRULY exciting and totally credible. I've witnessed in my own life how a friend's genuine happiness can be contagious and ripple out to other people I know.

    I'd like to encourage everyone out there to take the time necessary to figure out how to be happy. It's possible and it's worth it - for yourself, your family and your friends. And now we have "scientific proof".

    Thanks for that!