In my office, and in my articles, I talk a lot about medicine that does not come in the form of pills. A healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and getting plenty of sunshine are just three of the many examples of the most common (and effective) natural medicine prescriptions.
Another important medicine (no pills involved) is maintaining meaningful, supportive relationships with others. The way we interact with those closest to us can dramatically influence our happiness, and in turn, our health. A new study, to be presented at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention, brings to light a simple way to nurture our relationships: sharing good news.
This study focused on 162 military couples living in Oregon. As we can all imagine, couple that serve in the military are especially prone to strained relationships, as they often have to spend time apart, sometimes through long stressful periods. However, the couples involved in this study that shared good news with each other, and responded in a positive manner to each other’s good news, were found to benefit greatly.
The couples that followed this prescription were found to feel less lonely, and enjoy better sleep, than couples that did not. Feeling connected, and enjoying quality, restful sleep, are of course extremely important aspects of good health.
On the background and results of this research, social psychologist Sarah Arpin of Gonzaga University stated:
“Very few studies have examined daily relationship processes among military couples, who may be particularly vulnerable to relationship difficulties post-deployment… This study adds to a larger body of literature that supports how important it is to share with your partner when good things happen, as well as to respond positively to the sharing of good news.”
The take-away here is simple, folks. When good stuff happens, don’t keep it to yourself. Likewise, when your partner shares something good with you, be happy for them, and express your happiness openly. Taking care of our relationships in this way is just plain good medicine.
– Dr. Joshua Levitt