As you probably know, your personal health affects your happiness and vice versa. You’ve likely experienced this firsthand after a great fitness class — thanks to exercise endorphins (AKA the body’s feel-good chemicals), you want to hug everyone you meet. You may also notice it the morning after you get your best sleep ever — a solid night’s sleep is good for your body and your mood — and you spend the rest of the day feeling happier and healthier. It doesn’t get much better than that, right?
It turns out that it’s not just your happiness that influences your physical health, which science has previously proven to be true. A recent study by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Chicago revealed that your partner’s happiness can also affect your health… “Happy wife, healthy life,” amirite?
The study, which recently appeared in Psychology Today, analyzed data from nearly 2,000 couples. Each participant was asked to report on a range of measures related to their health and happiness, like life satisfaction, health status, degree of physical impairment, history of chronic disease, level of overall physical activity, and concern about future health problems. The researchers then broke down that data to determine how much of the subject’s health was affected by their own happiness and how much was affected by their partner’s.
The results show that your S.O.’s happiness can predict how healthy you will be over time. People with happy significant others tend to make healthier life choices. They engage in more physical activity, stick to a more consistent sleep schedule, and are less likely to partake in regular binge drinking. They also report less chronic disease and physical impairment. Even survey participants who were unhappy experienced the health-related benefits of a satisfied, positive romantic partner.
Psychologists who ran the study suggest that there are several factors that may cause the connection between your bae’s happiness and your own health. Upbeat partners are more likely to care for their sweetie’s emotional needs, help them be proactive about their own health, and encourage better habits (like going to the gym together and cooking healthy meals as a twosome). Individuals who are in relationships with happy people are also likely to experiences less stress. And we all know that excessive stress and anxiety can take a serious toll on our long-term health.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Based on this information, if you’re concerned about your own health (as you should be!), it’s just as important to ensure your S.O.’s contentment as it is to obsess over your diet and exercise. Here are just a few easy and fun ways to help boost your bae’s happiness — and your own health!
- Offer to hang out with their friends this weekend.
- Randomly text them throughout the day with photos of you together.
- Help them with errands if you have some spare time.
- Ask them more questions about their day, and listen to their answers.
- Bring home a fun dessert or nutritious treat for you to share.
Do you feel healthier when your S.O. is happy? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)