Happiness may love company even more than misery. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego, found that happiness may stem more from a group effort than from one person’s lifestyle and choices.

Their 20-year study of 5,000 individuals shows that a person’s positive emotional state is actually contagious, affecting not just his or her immediate social circle, but friends’ friends, and even friends’ friends’ friends. The upbeat vibes ripple out to touch those people never even met, with the effects lasting up to a year.

Even better news is sadness can’t hold a can’t handle to this kind of emotional contagion. Happiness spreads farther than sadness ever could. So while a frown might temporarily infect a room, smiles and laughter will carry on to many people and places.

I’m sure by now you don’t need any more convincing. Verdict? Happiness wins!

So lets all start our own cheerful chain reactions and make the world a happier place. Do something today that lifts your spirits and you will send out your own waves of contentment to those around you.

And while you are doing something to make you and those around you happier, think about what will also make them healthier. Just liked happiness is catching, so are healthy habits. If you hang around people that choose poorly regarding health, diet, and fitness, chances are you will start to make poor choices too. However, if you spend time with people that make these things a priority you will start to do the same.

So your commitment to health and fitness will rub off on those around you just like being happy can.

Stumped on how to share your healthy habits? Try these techniques:

  • Invite a friend for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Have a pool party with swimming and active games.
  • Choose a healthy restaurant or prepare a healthy meal for a night with friends.
  • Read a blog about living healthy together as a book club.
  • Have a competition to see who can lose weight or complete a fitness challenge.
  • Ask a friend to attend a community health event or meeting.

There are tons of ways you can reach out and help spread your commitment to fitness and living a healthy life. Even without looking for obvious ways you can spread your passion to others, just like a smile can spread happiness.

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