When you spend time with someone long enough, you begin to mimic and adopt each other’s quirks, interests, actions, and habits. Some habits and behaviors are great—like running or hiking—but others are not so great—like smoking or dealing with depression by overeating. In a study published in the American Psychological Association’s journal Health Psychology, research amongst older married couples finds strong associations between a couple’s physical health and each person’s emotional health. Your love can have an impact on your partner so build a healthy emotional relationship.
What does this mean? Well, if one partner is depressed, the other partner will associate with his or her depressive nature, which creates unhealthy habits for both people (staying inactive, becoming insomniacs, being anti-social, etc.). These co-dependent habits can cause a wide range of health issues from obesity to diabetes, chronic fatigue to depression.
So, who we choose to spend the rest of our lives together is just as important as how we choose to live together. You can influence your partner’s health just by changing your own behavior.
Build the foundations of a healthy emotional relationship with these tips!
- Make it a “sweaty” date. Set an early morning or early evening workout date. It can be anything from gym time to a simple stroll around the neighborhood. You can even take yoga classes together or play your favorite sports game on Wii or Xbox Kinect over the weekend. Moving is living! Not only are your endorphins pumping and you’re getting each other’s heart rate up, you can take this moment to have fun and enjoy each other’s company!
- Greens? Yes, please! If your sweetie goes for the fries every time, choose healthier options yourself and share it with him or her. When you sit down to watch a show together, don’t ask, and just make a plate of hummus and veggies or a bowl of healthy snacks. If it’s there, he or she will be more likely to eat it.
- Positive encouragement. Once you’ve found the healthy habits that both of you can enjoy, let him or her know how much they mean to you and how much you enjoy them. Knowing that it makes you happy will make him or her happier and more willing to participate!
- Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Nagging just doesn’t work. Keep your energy and your encouragement positive! It’s natural for someone to either tune out or even become defensive. If you positively change your behavior, your partner will catch on and do the same.