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Can Living With an Optimist Benefit Your Brain Health?

 Does your partner always look at the world through rose-tinted glasses? If so, scientists found another reason to thank your cheerful and positive significant other. Apart from making you smile every day, your optimistic partner may also be helping you ward off cognitive decline as you reach your senior years. Interestingly, both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease seems to be a lot less common in people whose better half has a positive attitude to life, and the overall cognitive capacities of these people are remarkably well-preserved even in older age.

How Do Relationships Determine Our Health?

It is fascinating how much all of us are influenced by the community we’re surrounded by. Our friendships, for example, can predetermine our longevity and professional success. We have previously written about the multitude of ways friendships can determine our physical and mental health, as well as affect our brain health, having an overall positive effect on our life and wellbeing.
optimistic partner and cognitive health happy couple  1

Even having pets has several health benefits to pet owners, among which are better cardiovascular health, greater mental strength, and higher resistance to stress. But a recent study from Michigan State University dug even deeper into our intimate relationships, seeking to discover the ways having an optimistic romantic partner could benefit our physical and cognitive health.

The researchers are convinced that a positive outlook on life in a romantic partner can make a real difference to your health. As one of the authors of the study, Dr. William Chopik, said in an interview with MedicalNewsToday: “Optimists do all sorts of healthy things. They are more physically active, maintain healthy diets, and avoid harmful things.” Not only that, optimists tend to be more proactive and inspire their partners to follow their ultimately healthy choices, too.

optimistic partner and cognitive health

The long-term effects of these beneficial choices accumulate and ultimately become the most apparent as the couple reaches late adulthood. This is why the study tested 4,457 couples past the age of 50 over the course of 8 years, administering questionnaires and monitoring their health over time. The research revealed that optimists and those who have an optimistic partner were a lot more likely to have a better memory and other cognitive capabilities, and also had a lower occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In our opinion, these findings are quite fascinating! To put things in perspective, dementia and its most common form in particular - Alzheimer’s disease - are among the leading causes of neurological disability in seniors. Over the following years, as the average life expectancy will be rising, dementia and Alzheimer’s cases will become an evermore serious medical concern, with the number of cases expected to double in the next 40 years. That's why finding out social interactions can have a significant effect on the occurrence of the disease is a huge deal!

Does that mean that having a glass-half-full approach to life is actually better for you and your loved ones?

That decision is for you to make, but for the pessimists out there, we will say that learning to have a more positive outlook on life is possible at any age, if you set your mind to it. If you want to become more optimistic, consider reading these articles:

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