According to a study done by Harvard University and UCSD (University of California San Diego), happiness is contagious.
The research discovered that when a person becomes happy, friends living close by have 25 percent chance of becoming happy themselves. For next-door neighbors, the percentage possibility increases to 34 percent.
Nicholas Christakis, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the author of the study, said it this way: “Everyday interactions we have with other people are definitely contagious, in terms of happiness.”
What’s more, the happiness contagion extends beyond merely the people we encounter face-to-face; it includes up to three layers (or degrees) of contact — i.e., friends of friends of friends. (link to article)
I guess one lesson we can learn from this study is that it pays to surround yourself with happy people.
Another lesson is that you have the power to spread goodwill to those beyond your immediate circle — even to those you don’t personally know.
Let’s remember Paul’s words…
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)
Like happiness, mercy and kindness catches on. It’s up to us to fan the flame.