Being satisfied with life comes with a range of health benefits for yourself. Benefits include a greater likelihood to exercise, a healthy weight, and increased motivation even for routine tasks. But, how does a person’s happiness affect their spouse?
A recent study in Health Psychology found that being happy does benefit your spouse. Slightly less than 2,000 middle-aged couples participated in the study. Researchers wanted to find out whether or not having a happy partner makes their partner healthier. Four areas were measured to determine the impact of happiness on health.
Categories used to determine whether spouses received health benefits from happy partners are:
- how the person rated their health
- whether they had physical impairements
- if the partners had a chronic disease
- how healthy their behaviors were
Happy people had higher health ratings in each of the four categories. The good news is, all but one benefit carried over to their spouse. In three out of four categories, happy people had a positive impact on the health of their partners. The exception was that happy people had no effect on whether their partner had a chronic disease. Still, partners of happy people have healthier behaviors, less physical impairment, and rate their health higher.
Likely reasons for the results:
- First, happier people provide a better social support for their partner
- Secondly, partners that have good habits encourage their spouse to have good habits
- Finally, living with a happy person creates a positive environment and an easier life
Now happiness isn’t just a matter of personal rewards. Happiness is contagious and apparently the health benefits may be, too. Just another reason to be happy and marry happy. Smile at someone you love today. Smile as if they just said “cheese.”
Of course, we all want to be happy. Having the benefits expand to our significant other is just more reason to improve our own well-being. Click here to read about: Being Happy: Wisdom Extracted from Popular Ted Talks.