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Make a 'Happy Friend' Date

This weekend, have lunch with a good-natured pal. It could have far-reaching benefits for your mental health.

Research confirms -- and quantifies -- it. Your chances of becoming happy increase by at least 15 percent if someone in your immediate social circle is happy.

Ripple Effect
Yep, it seems that happy people can spread their feel-good vibes far and wide, the same way a ripple spreads through a pond. Not only do immediate friends matter, but friends of friends, too -- more so if they happen to live close by.

Compassionate Caveat
Of course, the study findings don't mean you should ditch unhappy friends or family members. Instead, remember that the road to happy is a two-way street. You may spread happiness to downtrodden pals by feeling upbeat yourself.

Is someone you care about depressed? Here's how you can help.