Happiness is contagious, study finds

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Happiness is contagious, researchers reported on Thursday.

The same team that demonstrated obesity and smoking spread in networks has shown that the more happy people you know, the more likely you are yourself to be happy.

And getting connected to happy people improves a person’s own happiness, they reported in the British Medical Journal.

“What we are dealing with is an emotional stampede,” Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a telephone interview.

Christakis and James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, have been using data from 4,700 children of volunteers in the Framingham Heart Study, a giant health study begun in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1948.

They have been analyzing a trove of facts from tracking sheets dating back to 1971, following births, marriages, death, and divorces. Volunteers also listed contact information for their closest friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

They assessed happiness using a simple, four-question test.

“People are asked how often during the past week, one, I enjoyed life, two, I was happy, three, I felt hopeful about the future, and four, I felt that I was just as good as other people,” Fowler said.

The 60 percent of people who scored highly on all four questions were rated as happy, while the rest were designated unhappy.


People with the most social connections — friends, spouses, neighbors, relatives — were also the happiest, the data showed. “Each additional happy person makes you happier,” Christakis said.

“Imagine that I am connected to you and you are connected to others and others are connected to still others. It is this fabric of humanity, like an American patch quilt.”

Each person sits on a different-colored patch. “Imagine that these patches are happy and unhappy patches. Your happiness depends on what is going on in the patch around you,” Christakis said.

“It is not just happy people connecting with happy people, which they do. Above and beyond, there is this contagious process going on.”

And happiness is more contagious than unhappiness, they discovered.  Continued…


Related Posts:

Although pigging out and going out on huge lunches with friends may be fun and although slacking off with potato chips and nachos on weekends may be relaxing you definitely owe it to yourself to lead a healthier lifestyle. Being a pig does have its momentary consolations, but living in such a way that you

Full Post: Be a Healthier You by Following These Basic Slimming Down Tips!

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A simple checklist to confirm a patient’s name, what procedure is to be done, check allergies and count needles and sponges to make sure nothing got left inside halved the rate of surgery-related deaths, doctors reported on Wednesday. The checklist, similar to those used by pilots before

Full Post: Simple checklist cuts accidental deaths in surgery

With the holidays fast approaching people are looking for a program to get in shape and lose weights fast. With all the programs out there how does a person choose? Having been on more than a few myself I can give you my opinion on one that worked for me. I am one of those people

Full Post: How to Lose Weight Fast - The Holidays Are Here and It s Time to Look Good

Every dieters dream and if you’re anything like me anything that allows me to eat more and lose weight is a good thing. Being a formerly big girl, I actually ate less than most people did, I don’t know if it was metabolism, my genetics but whatever I ate, no matter how little went straight

Full Post: How I Lost 7 Pounds in Less Than 14 Days by Eating More

Who else wants to lose weight in time for the holidays? If you are anything like me, and MOST of our readers, you are probably raising your hand REALLY high right now, right? Well the simple truth is that the BIGGEST enemy, in my view, of looking your best in time for seeing all your

Full Post: Lose Weight For the Holidays - How Can I Lose Weight Fast And Look Great in Time For Christmas?

Site Navigation

Most Read



  • kinwrite.com@gmail.com