Before you start crossing your sad friends off your list, know that although sadness does spread across a network, it doesn't move as swiftly as happiness.(2) James Fowler (UCSD), co-author of the study, says that you should just make more of an effort to spread happiness than spend time avoiding unhappy people.
Social beings that we are, it makes sense that we'd be hardwired as transponders of emotions. Early survival may have well depended upon one's ability to "read the energy" of unfamiliar territory.
A few years ago, I moved into a little studio sandwiched between two larger homes. I remember feeling safe and happy at night whenever I heard Michael next door, raucously laugh while watching television. During the day, the man who lived above me sang along to every song from the old Hit Parade magazines! Guffawed, aptly describes what I did in response.
Today, I live in a much larger space surrounded by many people that I haven't even met but they must be happy, because I am. Now it's nice to know that the inverse could also be true: they're happy because I'm happy.
If you're a regular reader, I can't help but assume that you're also a happier-than-average person or you would have cancelled your subscription after the first twenty happiness related articles of mine. :D The world needs us and we don't have to donate a cent or forward another e-mail to make a difference . Just see to it that you're happy. Be the eye of the storm and change its course.
Ponder one of my favorite Abraham-Hicks suggestions: The best thing you could do for anyone that you love, is be happy! And the very worst thing that you could do for anyone that you love, is be unhappy, and then ask them to to try to change it..."
(1) CNN.com: Happiness is contagious in social networks.
(2) NPR: Clusters of Happiness (video 01:20)