Do you think improving your mood is a selfish indulgence? Do you think you should stop trying to feel better and do something productive instead? Well, get ready to overturn your thinking because a new study shows that your good mood has a strong influence on the happiness of others.
Improving your own mood does something valuable for the people who know you.
Using the voluminous data collected in the Framingham Heart Study, researchers looked at 5000 people over a period of twenty years. Many of the participants knew each other, so the researchers fed all the connections and their mood data over the two decades, and discovered something deeply heartening. Each person's happiness ripples out into others' lives.
In other words, your happiness — your good mood — causes a ripple of good moods for the people you know, and the closer people are to you, the stronger the effect.
Here's another uplifting finding from this study: Good moods have a greater ripple effect than bad moods. In other words, your good moods have more of a positive effect on others than your bad moods have a negative effect on them. And their good moods influence you more than their bad moods.
This is good news all around. Your good mood has a measurably positive effect on the people you know. And good moods are more influential than bad moods.
So from now on, take your mood more seriously, and encourage the people you know to do the same.
Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot.