Why Your Mood Is Dependent On Your Tribe

Catching a happy mood sounds too good to be true, but you can. And science shows how it happens and what you should do about it.

friends influence on foodphoto credit: shutterstock

Your friends’ happiness is contagious

Who you choose to hang out with and have in your squad can affect your happiness.

That’s right, the mood of the people you spend time with is contagious, says a new study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Catching a mood, whether happy or sad, is a real thing.

This new study looked at social and mood changes over time, and found that our pals do influence us when it comes to mood. The study focused on 2,194 students enrolled in the study. They were screened for depression and asked to share information about their best friends (many of whom were also in the study).

Students who suffered from foul moods were more likely to state they were in a bad mood six months to a year later – that is, they did not improve in terms of their mood level, found researchers.

However, for people who surrounded themselves with a circle of happy friends, these folks were more likely to have a better mood when questioned again at a later time.

Analyzing the data, the study authors found that the more a circle included people with low mood, the more likely someone would feel low themselves.

What to do if your friends bring you down

There may be an Eeyore in your group.  The symptoms of depression – such as helplessness, tiredness, sadness, loss of interest, feelings of worthlessness and poor concentration – might be shared. But it doesn’t mean you should ditch them from your circle because their mood will bring you down.

The study authors say the impact to you isn’t so strong that it’ll pull you into a dark place. If your friend is clinically depressed, it’s not enough to pull you into a depressive state.

What you can do if you’ve got someone in your crew who’s feeling low is help them through their rough patch and support them, without fear of them dragging your mood down.

Buddy up to do things you both have fun doing to help lift both of your moods collectively and help stop that down-in-the-dumps feeling from spreading. Make an uplifting, joyful mood the contagion that spreads. That’s what you want to catch.

If you suspect your friends bring you down, you should also check out these stories:

Am I Suffering From Depression? 8 Warning Signs You Need to Know
• How to Survive a Breakup with your Best Friend
How to Boost Your ‘Happy Hormones’