Happy Idea 135

An extensive study in the British Medical Journal monitored people over 20 years and found that their happiness levels affected other people in their networks across “three degrees of separation”.

In other words, how happy we are has a measurable impact on the mood of our friend’s friend’s friend!


If you want to read more on this:

The BMJ study concluded “Clusters of happy and unhappy people are visible in the network, and the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (for example, to the friends of one’s friends’ friends). People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. Longitudinal statistical models suggest that clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals. 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% (95% confidence interval 1% to 57%). Similar effects are seen in co-resident spouses (8%, 0.2% to 16%), siblings who live within a mile (14%, 1% to 28%), and next door neighbours (34%, 7% to 70%). Effects are not seen between coworkers. The effect decays with time and with geographical separation.

This is congruent with a recent study at Harvard University, which found:“although a person may be connected to other people by six degrees of separation, he or she is influenced only by those up to three degrees away.”  

The study went on to say “… a person’s influence progressively diminishes as the degrees of separation increase. For example, the risk for smoking in a person connected to a smoker (that is, at one degree of separation) is 61% higher, on average, than would be expected as a result of chance. It is 29% higher if the friends of that person’s friends smoke, and 11% higher if the friends of the person’s friends’ friends smoke. By the fourth degree of separation there is no longer an increase in risk.”

Help make the world a happier place by passing on this little Hi to someone that might also like to start their day on a Hi note!

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