People with optimistic spouses are less at risk of dementia because their partners encourage healthy habits and share stronger memories with them, says study
- Researchers from the University of Michigan and Harvard discovered that people with optimistic spouses have less cognitive decline and memory loss
- They think that happier partners often have better habits
- People more often adopt the habits of their partner – good or bad
- They also discovered that people could remember more detailed memories when they were shared with a partner
People with happy and optimistic partners will live healthier lives and may even be protected against dementia, a new study suggests.
Researchers say that people who spend their lives with a partner with a sunny perspective run less risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive decline as they age together.
They believe that an optimistic partner can help develop a healthier lifestyle by encouraging things such as eating a salad or exercising together.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality, followed more than 4,000 heterosexual couples for up to eight years.
People who were married to optimists went cognitively better as their lives progressed, and the researchers at Michigan State University and Harvard University think it could be because their home environment was healthier and less stressful.
Partners of optimists can be protected against dementia because they are more likely to pick up the healthy habits and less stressed attitude of their significant other
Some say that you are what you eat, but others say that you are the company that you love.
And that can also apply to their habits.
“We spend a lot of time with our partners,” said Dr. William Chopik, an associate professor at Michigan State University.
‘They can encourage us to exercise, eat healthier or remind us to take our medicine.
‘If your partner is optimistic and healthy, this can translate into comparable results in your own life.
A 2014 study even found that smokers, at least for women, were more likely if their spouse had been a smoker and quit than they were married to someone who had never smoked.
For example, if you stop smoking or start exercising, your partner is likely to follow within a few weeks or months.
Dr. Chopik added: ‘There is a feeling in which optimists set a good example and their partners follow their example.
“Although research has been done on people who are jealous of the good qualities of their partner or of having bad reactions to someone you are trying to control, it is weighed up against other research that shows that optimism is associated with positive thinking of your relationship. “
The research also showed that when couples evoke shared experiences together, stronger details emerge from the memories.
Dr. Chopik said, “We discovered that when you look at the risk factors for what predicts things like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, many of them are leading things like a healthy lifestyle.
‘Maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity are great predictors, there are also some physiological markers.
“It seems that people who are married to optimists tend to score better on all those statistics.”
Over the course of no less than eight years, the researchers discovered that optimist’s partners had better memory and ‘mental status’, a measure of their overall mental stability and functionality.
Although deterioration was observed in both optimistic and pessimistic couples – some cognitive decline is almost inevitable with age – those whose partners had “little optimism” had much steeper deterioration.
Dr. Chopik suggests that optimism is a trainable quality and that everyone benefits from a healthy dose of optimism from his partner.
“You are actually experiencing a brighter future by living longer and preventing cognitive diseases,” Dr. said. Chopik.