Recent studies have apparently shown that happiness is more contagious than sadness. The Washington Post this morning had a box that showed the likelihood that the happiness of someone in your circle would lead to an increase in your own happiness.
Now, I know this sounds weird, but it said that if your neighbor is happy, you have a 34% chance of having your own happiness increased, but that if your spouse is happy, your chance of increasing your own happiness is only 8%.
So, I have been going about this all wrong. I am going to start concentrating on my neighbors (I assume that means the neighbors in the abutting houses; otherwise, it would be exhausting.). I am going to cut their lawns, bring them dinner, take out their garbage, wash their cars, buy their groceries, and pay their taxes.
This will make them the happiest people around, which will in turn make me happier, and my being happy will make them happy which will make them even happier.
Of course, my neighbors are my wife’s neighbors, so she will become happier as well without any effort required on her part. Frankly, though, this is, I guess, of no concern to me, because whether she is happy or not will have no effect on me.
On the other hand, the article did not say what would happen if your spouse, or your neighbor, was sad, not happy. Perhaps, this is the converse (obverse?) – my guess is that my neighbors’ unhappiness would have little effect on my mood. But if my spouse was unhappy……….
In that case, I better hope for very, very happy neighbors.