An optimistic partner can improve your cognitive health, says study. (Source: Getty Images)
A happy and optimistic partner is not just good company; turns out they can benefit your health too. A new study has found that sharing your life with such a person can reduce your risk of dementia later in life.
Conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the study found that an optimistic partner tends to affect their spouses' cognitive health, keeps them sharper for a longer time and reduces the risk of neurogenerative diseases.
Staying with an optimistic partner, according to the researchers, is also associated with incorporating healthy lifestyle habits like healthy diet, having an active life and regular social engagement, which, in turn, have a positive impact on brain health.
For the study, researchers analysed results obtained from 4,457 straight couples after following them for almost eight years to find out if staying with an optimistic person impacted the partner's cognitive health. It was found that those whose partners were known to have a positive attitude towards life had better memory recollection as compared to the other couples.
"We spend a lot of time with our partners. They might encourage us to exercise, eat healthier or remind us to take our medicine...You actually do experience a rosier future by living longer and staving off cognitive illnesses," William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology, Michigan State University and study co-author said in a press release quoted by Insider.
"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. 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," Chopik added.
The study was published in the Journal of Behavioral Development.