A new study has found there is some scientific truth to the saying “happy wife, happy life.”
Researchers from Michigan State University conducted a study and found that being married to an optimistic person can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline, thanks to a healthier environment at home.
“We spend a lot of time with our partners,” said William Chopik, co-author of the study. “They might encourage us to exercise, eat healthier or remind us to take our medicine. 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.”
An optimistic partner is thought to encourage their loved one to exercise or eat healthier simply by making changes to their own lifestyle. For example, if they quit smoking or start going to the gym, the partner is likely to follow suit eventually.
“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,” Chopik said. “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 experts followed nearly 4,500 heterosexual couples from the Health and Retirement Study for up to eight years. The research also showed that when couples recall shared experiences together, richer details emerge from the memories.
The full study was published in the Journal of Personality.