Six Super Factors for Healthy Spouses

Happy Life: Happy Marriage Series

Feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress and love. These are the six super factors that Dr. David Katz of Yale Prevention Center recommends to add years to our lives, and life to our years. For singles and marrieds alike, good health is a tenet of happiness. In addition, healthy spouses put a lot less burden on a marriage than do ill spouses.

Without further ado, here’s an explanation of the six factors:

1)       Feet—Get regular physical activity. This is associated with controlling weight, reducing inflammation, enhancing immune system and reducing cancer risk

2)       Forks—We generally know what we are to eat to be well, but we need to make conscious decisions each day to eat well and to be active.

3)       Fingers—Never hold a cigarette in your hands (and although he doesn’t mention it, avoid secondhand smoke).

Note: Adhering to the above three behaviors reduces our risk of all chronic diseases by 80 percent.

4)       Sleep—Ensure adequate quality and quantity of sleep for better psychological, immunological and neurological function. (We also know that poor sleep is bad for the marriage, particularly when the wife sleeps poorly.) A cancer risk is suggested when adequate sleep is not obtained.

5)       Stress—When we don’t properly manage stress, we may become hormonally imbalanced and/or have increase risk of inflammation or cancer.

6)      Love—Dr. Katz explains, “We are, from our earliest origins, social creatures much influenced by our relationships with others. While love may seem a “warm and fuzzy” topic, it is in fact the cold, hard scrutiny of clinical trials demonstrating that those with loving relationships are far less vulnerable to chronic disease and death than those without.”

We know that a loving relationship is good for your health. Do your best to cultivate loving feelings and loving actions, rather than waiting for someone to prove their love to you on a daily basis.

Dr. Katz says incorporating all six factors into our lives actually alters our gens to reduce risk of chronic diseases including cancer.

“I hasten to append to this paean for the power of lifestyle a proviso: there is never a guarantee. Think of it this way: lifestyle practices are the ship and sails, but there is still the wind and waves. The former we can control to increase the probability of a safe crossing; the latter, we cannot — and thus even a well-captained ship may founder.

Are any of the six factors in need of attention in your life? Consider engaging in activities with your spouse that help you achieve the super six. For example, take a walk together, go to bed early (sleep and sex both reduce stress), quit smoking, shop for and cook with healthy food (and toss out the junk), increase the physical touch in your relationship, and use words of gratitude and positivity with your spouse.

Speaking of stress, where do the world’s most stressed women live?

A must read for all parents: How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” from The Atlantic. Could it be that by protecting our kids from unhappiness as children, we’re depriving them of happiness as adults? Yep.

Photo courtesy of by Trankov.

One response to “Six Super Factors for Healthy Spouses

  1. Hey Lori
    Your list left out the fact that stress is a leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks. Also sex is a destressor and there have been recent studies showing that couples who have sex 2-3 time a week lesson the risk of heart attack by a WHOPPING 50%.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

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