STUDY: Having a happy spouse is good for your health
Happy spouse, healthy house!
Having a happy spouse can make you healthier, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
The study found that over time, people married to happy spouses were more likely to be healthier, regardless of how happy they themselves are. “Simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to being happy oneself,” writes the study’s head author, William Chopik, PhD, a psychology professor at Michigan State University.
Whether the happy spouse was the husband or wife does not make a difference, even though we typically expect women to be more preoccupied with improving their spouses’ moods. “There’s a sense that women’s manage their husbands’ health, but it appears that the amount your spouse’s happiness affects your health doesn’t vary across gender,” Chopik explains to Time.
On the next page: the researchers named three possible reasons behind why people with happy partners tend to be healthier.
The researchers named three possible reasons why people with happy partners tend to be healthier:
1. Happy people are better at taking care of others
Because they aren’t weighed down by their own issues, happy people have a bigger capacity to give of themselves. They usually have more energy to give support and encouragement, while unhappy partners tend to be preoccupied with their own issues.
2. Happy people encourage their partners to be healthier
Happy people tend to be more motivated to lead healthy lifestyles, and are thus more likely to drag their unhappy partners out of bed to exercise, or eat healthy foods, sleep better, and so forth.
“It’s compensatory,” Chopik tells Time. “Another person’s happiness is filling you up, so you do these healthy things.”
3. Being with a happy partner just makes like easier
“Simply knowing that one’s partner is satisfied with his or her individual circumstances may temper a person’s need to seek self-destructive outlets, such as drinking or drugs, and may more generally offer contentment in ways that afford health benefits down the road,” Chopik says.
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