Network Effect of Happiness

I am currently reading Flourish by psychologist Martin Seligman. In the book he quoted an interesting study on the effect of people’s emotion on their neighbors – 

“The closer someone lived to someone who was lonely, the lonelier the second individual felt. The same was true for depression, but the blockbuster was about happiness. Happiness was even more contagious than loneliness or depression, and it worked across time. If person A’s happiness went up at time 1, person B’s— living next door— went up at time 2. And so did person C’s, two doors away, by somewhat less. Even person D, three doors away, enjoyed more happiness.”

This speaks volumes to how important it is to make sure you are at your best and are happy. Focusing on yourself isn’t selfish – it actually is probably one of the most important things you can do in order to spread well being into the world given this type of network effect. 

Likewise, it is really important to be cognizant of the type of people you surround yourself with. If you tend to surround yourself with people who are negative – chances are this is having a profound effect on your well being. 


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