Happiness is contagious according to a recent study by Nicholas Christakis, a professor in Harvard University's Sociology Department and co-author of a twenty year study of 4700 people in Framingham, MA. The study found that an extra chunk of money increases your odds of being happy only a little bit - notably less than the odds of being happier if you have a happy friend.
It seems happiness doesn't just depend on our own actions and how we perceive the world. Friends and even total strangers can affect our outlook. Sure, it's a wise thing not to get your knickers in knot as you walk among the crazies, but studies have proved that our happiness is colored by people we don't even know.
According to a recent article by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer: people pass on good cheer even to total strangers. The Framingham study also found that transferred happiness is good for up to a year.
I wonder how they tracked the happiness?
According to Ms. Cheng, happy friends were more important than happy spouses. Experts think people take their emotional cues from people who look like them. This is especially true of women. Happy friends of the same gender help your mood more than a happy spouse. So unless your husband looks a lot like you, he probably won't affect your happiness quotient as much as a joyous female friend.
The Friend-O-Meter: According to the Framingham study each happy friend boosts your chance of being happy by 9 %. Having a grumpy friend decreases your happiness by about 7 %. This jells with what I learned in listening to the 527 Naked Men in my book. What attracted them to specific women: her smile, her laugh, her cheerful nature. So there we go...happy people tend to have many friends who are also happy. Smile and the world loves you.
Laughter: A University of Maryland Medical Center study revealed the average blood flow typically increases 22 % during and after outbursts of laughter compared to a decrease in blood flow by 35 % during mental stress. Laughter promotes increased immune system response, lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics, increases oxygen flow throughout the entire body and helps induce a state of relaxation promoting better sleep.
With Love & Laughter!