Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Bring Me Down

This could be good news or bad news for places like Flint struggling with economic decline and the sadness it engenders. Studies reveal that our happiness is actually influenced by the happiness of those around us.

Our Social Brains, a blog that explores "new brain science and social behaviors" reports:
Our social brains are {happily} vulnerable to the emotional happiness of those around us. Both Harvard and University of California medical researchers working together have just reported (December, 2008) that happiness spreads like a virus through social networks (friends, family, co-workers, teammates, neighbors).

Your happiness can influence (and IS, in turn, influenced by) the happiness of the folks you hang out with. But wait, there’s more! The study showed that your perceptions of being happy not only increase with the happiness of your friends, but also with the friends’ friends’ friends. People you do not know and have never met. A big scholarly “Wow!”

1 comment:

  1. All you folks out there are hereby on notice that my happiness is dependent on your happiness.

    Since it would be unacceptable to me for you to have a negative impact on my happiness, all of you are obligated to (don't worry) be happy.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at