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Can having happy friends help make me happier?

Edward Phillips
Physical Therapy
After crunching social network data derived from more than 4,700 adults in an arm of the Framingham Heart Study, researchers reported intriguing findings in The British Medical Journal (BMJ). People surrounded by, and at the center of, many happy people are more likely to become happy in the future. Statistical models suggest this is more than birds of a feather flocking together. Rather, clusters of happiness appeared to spring from the spread of happiness. For example, having a friend who lived within a mile become happy boosted a person's probability of happiness by 25%. Upbeat moods radiated as far as friends of friends of friends. And each additional friend counted as happy increased a person's likelihood of being happy by about 9%.

Revel in the company of happy souls. In fact, it may be worth seeking happy people out through activities you enjoy, a religious community that resonates with you, and volunteer opportunities, though the study doesn't cover these situations. Snubbing less happy people isn't necessary. As a BMJ commentator noted, unhappy acquaintances may make other contributions to our lives.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.