An article in this morning’s newspaper reads: “Happiness- you can catch it, after all. Researchers at Harvard University and MIT wanted to find out if happiness could be spread like infectious diseases. Using data collected from 1880 subjects in the Framingham Heart Study, they discovered that yes, emotional states changed according to the emotional states of people that the participants of the study went into contact with. it appears that you can “catch” happiness or sadness.
The lesson? Be choosy about who you associate with! If we are around optimistic happy people, we are more likely to be happy. However, if we are spending a lot of time with depressed, cynical, angry, whiny complainers- that won’t do our emotional states much good at all.
I believe this study to be true. I personally prefer to surround myself with happy people. My boyfriend, family, and friends are for the most part happy and supportive people. My workplace, unfortunately, does have a lot of frustrated people who complain a lot. I do my best to not “catch” this energy but I do find it is draining and exhausting to be around these particular people. Some afternoons I go home and just collapse from all of that negative energy.
What can we do to protect ourselves from catching the negative states of others and increase our chances of catching the good stuff from happy positive people?
Source: The Times-Union July 18, 2010, Rachel Bernstein Los Angeles Times