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Happy People Make Their Spouses Healthier

February 6, 2017
Happy couples, happy lives happiness

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Happy wife, happy life — and a healthy one too.

A new study from Michigan State University found that a cheerful spouse is good for your well-being. It also showed that a miserable partner can make you sick.

The six-year study, published online in the journal Health Psychology, followed nearly 2,000 couples, men and women aged 50 and up. The research tracked subjects satisfaction levels, daily tasks, exercise and chronic diseases like diabetes. However, participants with happy partners were much more likely to report better health, experience fewer physical issues and exercise more often than participants with unhappy partners.

Happiness Matters

“Even if you are extremely happy, your health is negatively affected by an unhappy spouse,” Bill Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at MSU, told the Daily News. “Your partner’s happiness compensates if you’re unhappy,” says Chopik.

Previous studies show your happiness boosts your own health. But partners matter too, says the researcher. “Happy partners probably provide stronger social support and better motivate us to get out of bed or to eat the salad not the junk,” says Chopik. “On the other hand, a partner’s unhappiness can be a source of stress.”

Therefore, the “enduring effect” of a spouse’s upbeat or downbeat state of mind of their partner’s happiness  and well-bring surprised the researcher. “We thought that happiness or well-being would stop mattering as much and that age would take over,” says Chopik. “But even six years later, the happiness impact was strong.”

Article courtesy of Joe Dziemianowicz for The New York Daily News.