Happy People Improve The Health Of Their Spouses

The keys to a healthy life: Eat well, exercise… and marry a happy partner?

It makes sense that if you’re a happy person, you’re likely going to be healthier, but it turns out how happy your spouse is matters, too. A recent study by Michigan State University found that people who had happier spouses were in better shape, regardless of their own happiness.

The researchers looked at 2,000 older married heterosexual couples over six years, and found that those with happier partners were significantly more likely to report better health, experience less physical impairment and exercise more frequently than participants with unhappy partners, even when accounting for their own happiness and other life experiences.

The authors have a few theories about why this might be so. The first is that happier partners are often better caregivers, with more energy to take care of their spouse (after all, it’s hard to give to someone else when we’re not feeling great ourselves, right?). Another is that people with positive attitudes are more likely to engage in healthier behaviors that will benefit themselves in the long term. A third is that people with happier partners are less stressed—and we all know how bad stress is for our health.

The study found no difference between husbands and wives.

If you’re looking for a partner, remember that one with an upbeat disposition will do more for you than just brighten your day, he or she will improve your health too! And if you’re already couple off, this study serves as a good reminder that taking care of your own well-being is an important part of maintaining a happy, healthy relationship.

[h/t: Time]

Photo by adammcguffie