Is happiness contagious? You betcha. In fact, for the last several years there has been numerous research that has proven that happiness can be spread to those around you.
"You would think that your emotional state would depend on your own choices and actions and experience," said Dr.Nicholas A. Christakis.
Dr. Christakis is a medical sociologist at Harvard University. He conducted a study published in 2008 in BMJ, a noted British Medical Journal. "But it also depends on the choices and actions and experiences of other people, including people to whom you are not directly connected. Happiness is contagious."
Since there has been a an abundance of research that show just how contagious happiness really can be.
Dr. Jonah Berger and Dr. Katherine Milkman from the University of Pennsylvania examined 7,000 articles from the New York Times. The Drs found that positive articles were shared more often than negative ones. "Stories about newcomers falling in love with New York City," wrote Dr. Berger, were more likely to be e-mailed than "pieces that detailed things like the death of a popular zookeeper."
Similar studies of online behavior show that we're more likely to use words like "happy, love, nice and sweet" online than "worried, hurt, sad and ugly."
It's also been found that we tend to share our positive daily experiences 70% of the time. According to an extensive two-decade long study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, happiness is not only highly contagious, online communities may actually "magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony." At Tübingen University, scientists tracked the emotional responses of Facebook users in Germany and the U.S. They discovered that reading other people's positive posts triggered happiness in 64% of people.
On the flipside, negativity can beget negativity. Just like the flu, negative emotions are infectious and can make you feel crummy. That's why you should chose the people you surround yourself with wisely. Instead of hanging out with Debbie Downer, you should be spending time with Polly Positive.
Besides your inner circle, you should take the reins yourself and share your happiness with the world. You want to give back, be supportive, boost moral, or creating a piece of content for your brand. The reason? It's been found that when you share positive experiences, it heightens the impact of that moment because it allows you to re-live and re-savour the experience.
That may sound impossible to do, but it's really not that difficult to make your happiness go viral if you do the following.
Activate The Hidden 31
Shawn Achor is New York Times best-selling author of "The Happiness Advantage" and "Before Happiness." Michelle Gielan is an expert on the science of positive communication.
Achor and Gielan suggest in Live Happy magazine that you can get optimism to go viral by activating the "Hidden 31." Achor and Gielan came up with this name after a survey in Training magazine that found 31 percent of respondents stated that they are "positive but not expressive of it at work."
This was expressed in these three-steps:
"While this strategy works well for companies and business teams, it works at the family dinner table, too. Customers can also become "enthusiasts," spreading the word about the product or service they appreciate. And sports teams can recruit and develop the Hidden 31, thereby tipping balances to winning mindsets," writes Achor and Gielan.
"If you identify, acknowledge and activate the Hidden 31 by giving people clear ways to express their positive mindsets, you can inspire optimism and happiness to go viral. And that makes it much easier for us all to live happy."
Activate High-Arousal Emotions
"If your content activates a high-arousal emotion, you're set. The likelihood of people sharing and talking about your content will increase drastically," writes Derek Halpern of Social Triggers. This idea was already found to be true through Jonah Berger's research, as well as the experiences of Halpern.
Halpern explains that "a high arousal emotion can be either positive or negative (both types work)," such as awe, anger, anxiety, fear, joy, lust, and of course, surprise.
"But this is where things get a little more complicated. While it's simple to activate these emotions, it's not easy. You've got to think about which emotion you want to target, and hit it perfectly."
Since we're currently focused on happiness here, let's go over the positive high-arousal emotions.
Simple Ways To Spread Happiness Daily
The suggestions listed above are pretty amazing. But, what are the simple ways that you can spread happiness on a daily basis?
Here's a rundown of ways to make the world a happier, and better, place.
How have you made happiness go viral?