When I was moving to this great city a whole four months ago, I was told repeatedly to watch out for the Boston 'tude, attitude that is. I have to say I've run into quite a number of 'tudey Bostonians, but guess what? There's hope. A Harvard Medical School and UC San Diego study, published today in British Medical Journal, reported just knowing a generally happy person makes you 15.3 percent more likely to be happy yourself. Even a shivering, pale, grumpy Bostonian has a chance to smile thru the winter, as long as he knows at least one person who's happy!
The 20-year-study included nearly 5000 people and analyzed their spouses, relatives, close friends and even neighbors. The press release stated that just one person's happiness triggered a "chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends. The effect lasts for up to one year." Up to a year?! That's amazing! No wonder I still smile remembering how the crazy lady in the Commons cheerily wished me a happy day over a month ago.
The great news is the opposite is NOT true. Misery may love company but it's not getting it easily. Sadness is less contagious as happiness.
Listen, I know we're in one of the grumpiest cities on the East Coast, if not the country. I'm just as anti-waving-to-strangers as the next uptight urbanite, but I do enjoy a good smile when I'm feeling good. I like to dole out hugs when something awesome has happened. I'm a happy person dammit (unless I'm pms'ing and then you better just run). I am tired of the 'tude. Harvard you have given me hope. I am gonna single-handedly turn this city into a love-fest. You can't stop me! It's contagious!
For the full Harvard press release click here.