Yeah, I get it, you don’t want to brag. But it turns out that sharing good news you get might be the key to happiness.
More exactly, it looks like sharing good news might prolong the feelings of happiness you get from that news. You don’t need to take my word – just ask the researchers from University of California, Irvine who did a study on it.
In the study, the researchers surveyed 165 students who had just gotten good exam scores. They asked the students how they were feeling and who they’d shared the news with. Then the next evening, they asked the students again.
Students who had shared the good news with more people reported feeling excited about their exam scores for a longer period of time. They also reported having spent more time thinking about the happy occasion of acing their exams.
This was especially true when the people they’d shared their news with validated the idea that this news was important. In other words, when the students told their friends “hey, I just got an A on my math test,” the students’ happiness tended to last longer, but if the friends replied by “yeah, so who cares?” that tended to put a damper on the parade.
At this point you might ask: so what about bad news? If sharing good news prolongs happiness, does that mean sharing bad news will prolong disappointment?
Interestingly, sharing negative emotions seems to have the opposite effect: when you share negative emotions with others, those emotions tend to dissipate more quickly. A 2013 study suggests that sharing’s ability to shorten negative emotions applies to anger, fear and sadness.
Of course, while all this is true on average, there are situational differences. Some people may derive more benefit from sharing their emotions with others. And if your friend flunked the same exam you got an A on, this might not be the best time to invite them to revel in your successes. In general, though, sharing both good news and bad may work in your favor by prolonging positive emotions and diluting negative ones.
Image: Flickr/Marina del Castell