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Having a happy partner is directly related to a healthier life according to researchers at Michigan State University. Those who live with a partner with this state of humor is 34% more likely to report good health – including lower levels of chronic diseases – and to maintain constant physical activities. The best results were found among middle-aged and older adults.

“Simply having a happy partner may enhance [one’s health] as much as striving to be happy oneself”, said lead author of the study William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at MSU. Happy spouses provide strong social support compared to unhappy partners, who might just focus on their own stressors. Happy spouses promote healthy routines, such as dragging their spouse out of bed to exercise and eat healthier, Chopik told Time magazine.

There’s a lot of evidence that people in happy marriages live longer. But this study helps explain how health might be affected by a spouse’s level of happiness, regardless of your own outlook.

Gender. There was no difference found across gender. A happy husband is just as likely to influence his wife to be happier and take on healthier behavior. There are no signs that anything would be different in same-sex marriages.

Base of study. Chopik’s team used six years of data from the Health and Retirement Study – a long-running survey sponsored by the National Institute on Aging in the United States. Nearly 2,000 heterosexual couples between the ages of 50 and 90 responded to surveys, self-reporting on their happiness, health and physical activity. Click here for the full article.