Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happiness is contagious, don't you know

Our principal put a Dec 22, 2008 Time Magazine article by Alice Parks in our boxes. (Actually, I think he put them in the English teacher's boxes.) It is an article about some research being done at Harvard and the University of California at San Diego.

They started with the passing of illness. "Contagious diseases operate like a giant infectious network, spreading like the latest YouTube clip among friends of friends online. We're social animals; we share." Tell me about it, hang out in a high school for a while and watch illness spread through the building like ants on sugar or something like that.

So, they then extrapolated and studied the passing of other health-related behaviors like smoking, eating, exercising etc. If unhealthy is contagious, then is healthy behavior contagious, too? Turns out they think the answer is yes.

In effect, if I am in a really good mood all day, my good mood can effect my students and cause them to be in better moods. Then it passes from them on to their friends.

In addition, the whole thing is even more effective if two people actually like each other, so students that really like me would have an even better chance of being in a better mood if I'm in a good mood than kids that don't like me as much. It works the other way too . . . So, they can make me happy, and if I'm in a foul mood, I can ruin their buzz potentially.

Another of my favorite quotes that "people who are smiling on their Facebook pages tend to cluster together, forming an online social circle like a delirious flock of cyberbirds."

Think about it. Being happy isn't just for you, it is for everyone around you. Weird. I may have to write more on this later.

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