Researchers from Harvard Medical School and University of California, San Diego, studied individuals' levels of happiness and their social relationships, using comprehensive data collected on 4,739 people over a 20-year period.
They found that the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (as far as a friend of a friend of a friend).
They found 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 and who is happy, increases the probability of you being happy by 25 percent. A happy sibling within the same distance increases your probability of being happy by 14 percent; a co-resident spouse increases it by 8 percent, and next door neighbors by 34 percent.
While it may seem obvious that your closest friends might influence your mood, the study also found that even the happiness of a friend's friend boosts your chance of being happy by 9.8 percent; and that of a friend of a friend of a friend boosts your chance of being happy by 5.6 percent!
An interesting aspect of their findings is that such effects are not seen between coworkers. Also, unhappiness did not seem to spread as much as its "happy" counterpart - which is definitely something we can't be complaining about!
Another interesting happiness research! Recent research from International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) concludes that a person's happiness is determined by 3 components: Genetics, Environment, and Intentional Activities.
The first two, are products of DNA, parenting, and the environment of childhood. These two factors account for about 60% of a person's ability to be happy.
The third factor, intentional activities, are those things a person chooses to be, do, or have. These account for about 40% of a person's happiness.
Research studies focusing on this area identifies committing acts of kindness, and expressing gratitude and optimism as possible happiness enhancing activities, among others.
Another interesting aspect of this research, when using these acts of kindness intentionally to increase one's chances of being happy is - happiness increased when people intentionally committed several VARIED acts of kindness each week.
It was found that performing fixed acts of kindness each week actually showed a decrease, where as performing variety of kindness acts resulted in higher levels of happiness, even one month after the study completed!
According to a research study, 80% of people say they don’t have goals. 16% have goals that are kept in their mind, and these people earn 3 times as much in their lifetime as those with no goals. And the 4% people who regularly write down their goals, earn 9 times as much over their lifetime as people who don’t!
Besides help in finding happiness, looks like setting meaningful, long-term goals has an added "bonus" as well - literally!
So the conclusion based on above happiness research? Living near happy people and being kind to others, might actually help your own happiness!