If your partner is happy, you’ll have a healthier future. This is according to Michigan State University research
“We spend a lot of time with our partner. They might encourage us to exercise, eat healthier or remind us to take our medicine,” says William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the study.
“When your partner is optimistic and healthy, it can translate to similar outcomes in your own life. You actually do experience a rosier future by living longer and staving off cognitive illnesses.”
For example, if your partner quits smoking or starts exercising, you are likely to follow suit within a few weeks or months.
“We found that when you look at the risk factors for what predicts things like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a lot of them are things like living a healthy lifestyle,” says Chopik. “Maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity are large predictors. There are some physiological markers as well. It looks like people who are married to optimists tend to score better on all of those metrics.”
The study followed nearly 4 500 heterosexual couples for up to eight years.
The researchers found a potential link between being married to an optimistic person and preventing the onset of cognitive decline, thanks to a healthier environment at home.
Optimists set a healthy example
“There’s a sense where optimists lead by example, and their partner follows their lead,” says Chopik.
“While there’s some research on people being jealous of their partner’s good qualities or on having bad reactions to someone trying to control you, it is balanced by other research that shows being optimistic is associated with perceiving your relationship in a positive light.”
The research also indicated that when couples recall shared experiences together, richer details from the memories emerge.
Can you make yourself into an optimist?
If you don’t have an optimistic partner, you could be one!
While there is a heritable component to optimism, Chopik says there is some evidence to suggest that it’s also a trainable quality.
“There are studies that show people have the power to change their personality, as long as they engage in things that make them change,” says Chopik. “Part of it wants to change. There are also intervention programs that suggest you can build up optimism.”
Source: Michigan State University via www.sciencedaily.com
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