through the viewfinder: spread happy

Last week I was in the car listening to NPR, and heard a piece on a new study that seems to indicate that happiness is contagious:

A new study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego documents how happiness spreads through social networks.

According to the study, if you're happy, your friends who live nearby have a 25% higher chance of being happy.  And your next-door neighbour?  30%.

I love this.

But wait, there's more!  According to this study, if you're happy, not only do you have the power to make your friends happy, but you potentially have the power to make the friends of your friends happy.  Just by being happy.  I can hear the cynics among you scoffing, and admittedly, this does seem a bit crazy -- but seriously, what if they're right? And what have you got to lose by believing it?

The piece on NPR mainly discusses face-to-face interactions we have with each other, but personally, I think the same is true for the interactions we have electronically, as well.  I don't know about you, but things that I read online -- whether a news article, a blog post or even an email -- can have a marked effect on my outlook for the day.  Couple this with the Harvard study, I can't help but wonder:  what would happen if each of us actually made an effort to put a bit of happy out there?  Do you think it would make a difference?

Personally, I'm willing to try.  So right, here, right now as I type this, here's something that's making me happy:

This weekend, I made two batches of my banana bread.  Also this weekend, my family devoured two batches of my banana bread.  Thinking about how much they enjoyed something I made for them from scratch with my own two hands (twice!) makes me deeply happy.

Now you:  what's making you happy right here, right now?  Feel free to share it in the comments below, or better still:  if you have a blog, I'll challenge you to blog it, and then leave your link to your post here in the comments for others to read.

Let's see if we can spread happy.

SongLove and happiness by Al Green

Karen Walrond29 Comments