Being happy is not only good for yourself, but can affect more people than you may think.
An interesting study recently published in the British Medical Journal investigated whether happiness can spread from person to person and how it may form within social networks (Fowler JH, Christakis NA, 2008). This was a large study where 4,739 individuals were followed from 1983 to 2003.
The researchers found clusters of happiness as a result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals.
According to this research people’s happiness are affected by the happiness of others with whom they are connected.
Fowler JH, Christakis NA. Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ 2008;337:a2338.