Breaking News – Laugh and the World Laughs With You

We have all heard the old cliche- Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. According to a scientific study, happiness is quite literally contagious. If you surround yourself with happy people, it will have a deep and lasting effect on your own happiness.

According to an article by Maria Cheng of the Associated Press, a research paper released in a British medical journal concluded that happiness is contagious and that people pass on their good cheer even to total strangers.

The study was carried out by American researchers on a group of 4,700 subjects in Framingham, Mass. The study also found that the transferred happiness can last up to a year. More details please

The study noted that happy people tended to be at the center of social networks and had many friends who were also happy. Having friends or siblings nearby increased a person’s chance of being happy and that also that happiness spread outward by three degrees-not only to friends but also to the friends of friends.

One area that the research did not address was the advent of internet social networks. While it is believed that the internet social networks may have the same effect, there is no proof of this as they did not exist at the time of the study-2003. While it would seem that social networking on the net may help, it may also be that directs contact (person to person) may be a necessary ingredient for this contagion of happiness to work.

It is also interesting that the effects was stronger with friends of the same gender and that the effects was even stronger than having a happy spouse.

In other research, Andrew Steptoe, psychology professor at the University College London noted that being happy also brings other benefits including a protective effect on your immune system to you produce fewer stress hormones. So not only do you feel good being happy but, you will actually be healthier.

There are also other reasons why it might be wise to choose your social networks (friends) carefully. In a previous study by Nicholas Christakis of Harvard and James Fowler of the University of California (the authors of this study) also found that obesity and smoking habits also spread socially.

One of the interesting aspects of the study also added to the old cliche in that: cry and you cry alone. The study also showed that grumpy and negative people had far less effect on a social networks happiness than more positive people had. So, while you may wish to surround yourself with happy, you don’t have to drop your grumpy friends. In fact, maybe your happiness will be contagious to them.

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