Absolutely fascinating article from the remarkable Framingham study. This is where they’ve looked at nearly 5000 people living in a town for more than 20 years. There’s nothing like this particular study in the world, because they have used the same people and studied a vast range of important factors. This is a very high quality study looking at happiness, and whether it’s contagious.
A summary of 20 years research – Yes, happiness is contagious and living with happy people is good for your happiness and health.
Here are a few key quotes from the article and a link to the full version (you may need to become a free member of medscape to read the article):
“A friend who lives within a mile (about 1.6 km) and who becomes happy increases the probability that a person is happy by 25%.”
“People’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. ‘
“Happiness is a fundamental object of human existence, so much so that the World Health Organization is increasingly emphasising happiness as a component of health.”
Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study James H Fowler; Nicholas A Christaki, published in BMJ (Clinical Research)