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Healthy and rich: How money affects well-being

SCIENTISTS UNDERSTOOD THE INCREDIBLE: to be healthy and live longer, you just need to be rich. What could be easier? Of course it was sarcasm. However , not all research about money is like a joke for Twitter – many of them are at least curious and at the most useful. We tried to collect information on how to borrow correctly (spoiler alert: better not), save for the future, and generally handle banknotes from a health point of view.                  

Why money affects health 

Worrying about money is stressful. And stress is a fight-or-flight response that has evolved in humans as a survival mechanism when faced with a real or potential threat. When this happens, stress hormones , including adrenaline and cortisol, are released to help us either fight or hide. And yes, this happens not only when Bear Grylls is spending the night in the jungle, but also when you count the days until paycheck. And then the other depletes the body, affecting all of its functions, including defense. To put it simply , debt makes us more vulnerable to infection.                     

And yet, we are starting to make the wrong decisions. This is because under stress, activity in certain areas of the brain – the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, frontal lobes – decreases. Since it is they who are responsible for concentration and planning, nothing but compulsive reactions to what is happening can be expected .         

Financial stress
and its consequences 

Debt is one of the main sources of mental stress. And here it is no longer very important whether we are talking about a few thousand rubles that you owe your sister, or a large debt on a loan. According to a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association , money is the second most common cause of stress. The first was the future of the nation, the third was work, also related to money.                

Obviously, the stress of financial problems and / or financial instability can cause psychological difficulties. And they, in turn, can only exacerbate a difficult financial situation – for example, when compulsive buying becomes a way to relieve stress, or when debt is ignored until you can no longer wait.       

A survey conducted by Ascent among Americans, indebted for at least a thousand dollars, showed that 38% of them had problems with sleep, 48% lost optimism, but at 47% decreased self-esteem. In addition, according to another study , people were more likely to experience depressive symptoms when they did not feel in control of their finances. On family life financial history also affects not the best way. Issledovaniya 2012 the year allowed to talk about the fact that couples who have not agreed on the monetary issues, are more likely to get divorced in the next five years than couples who argued over something else.                   

But even divorce and anxiety are not the worst thing. Statistics say that among people who commit suicide, those in debt are eight times more likely. At the same time, a group of scientists from Emory University argues that even a minimal increase in wages can prevent thousands of suicides – the risk is reduced by 3.5-6% for every additional dollar an hour.             

Interesting fact: Scientists also found that by the age of eighteen, those who rated their family as ranked higher in society had less difficulty transitioning into adulthood, most interestingly, regardless of the actual family status.      

Why are we so worried about money? Perhaps because finance is a taboo topic. According to 2014 survey discussing income is more difficult for people than death, politics, religion, and health.        

How debt affects health indicators 

Professionals are already using the term “financial health” – and this is no coincidence. Money affects our physical well-being too much for this fact to be ignored.    

For example, a study of 2013 the year showed that people aged 24-32 years, who were in debt, mean arterial pressure was higher – as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke. They often complained about their health in general, although it is in this age group that the state of health should be optimal. And in another study, in respondents who reported recent financial stress, risk of heart attack I was in 13 times higher than that of respondents with minimal worries about money. Moreover, a study conducted in Duke University, suggested that a low credit rating of the patient can be used to predict increased risk of cardiovascular disease.     

Move on. Back in 2008 , scientists found that 44% of people with high levels of “debt stress” have migraines and other types of headaches, while among people with low levels of such stress , only 15% experience this . According to the same study, people with debt are also more prone to muscle strain, back pain and gastrointestinal problems .                   

At the same time, many people who borrow money and can not give it back are embarrassed by this fact, which provokes social isolation. The latter, we recall, is a predictor of early mortality along with obesity, smoking and alcoholism. By the way, one study and all showed that between the increase in financial stress and an increase in consumption of alcohol and tobacco is a direct connection.            

Finally, Danish scientists have found that in people with financial problems, the level of markers of inflammation in the blood is steadily increased. This, in turn, provoked an accelerated aging of the body – a stronger decline in physical and mental abilities at a certain age than the “ hospital average ”. Not to mention , inflammation is associated with a host of chronic diseases, the risk of which increases instantly.            

What happens when there is no debt? Besides the fact that the psychological state of a person naturally improves, he seems to acquire healthy habits. At least that’s what one poll hints at , in which 69% of respondents admitted that they choose healthier food when they have enough money.       

Is it possible to pick up something from the bill 

Although this happens quite rarely, because our immunity does an excellent job of its duties, in theory it really is possible. The 2002 the year showed that 94% of the 68 tested banknotes were contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria. On some bills were found of Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.        

Bacteria, unlike viruses, thrive on dry surfaces for up to several weeks. So if you want to reduce the risks, it is better not to touch the nose and other mucous membranes after paying for the fare in the minibus .       

Save and multiply 

Conversely, saving money is very useful. And not only because in this way we have a “safety cushion”, which, if necessary, can be spent on medical procedures and examinations. And also because, as shown by a study at the University of Washington, people who put money in the bank at interest, thinking about the future, were inclined to healthier behaviors, including a balanced diet, quitting bad habits and physical activity. It is believed that the optimum satisfaction of life are people with a salary of 75 thousand dollars in a year (after the deduction of taxes in the United States is about 4500 dollars a month, according to the current exchange rate – 270 rubles).                          

In general, wealthy people do live longer than people with less money. Investigation of 2016 the year showed that for men the difference can be up to fourteen years, for women – ten years. But if we talk about the loss of money, have things in the wealthy generally worse. The effect, dubbed by scientists as a shock wealth loss, and suggesting a 75% drop in wealth over two years, doubles the chances of someone over fifty years of age dying over the next twenty years.                   

As for the poor people, in their risk of death from all causes over the same period, and in that same age is 67%. It turns out that having wealth and losing it is just as bad for life expectancy as never being rich.             

Is it possible to buy happiness for money  

Not something to yes, but and not something that is not. According to research from the University of California, money can buy a certain type of happiness, but not happiness in general. Analysis of the data showed that people with higher income more likely to experience happy feelings towards themselves (pride, satisfaction, fun and other “individual happiness”), whereas people with low income – related to the other happy feelings (love and compassion).                   

On what to spend the prize in a lottery  

You’ve probably heard stories of big lottery wins that lead people to ruin. In this phenomenon even has a name – lottery curse . Psychologists Elizabeth Dunn (University of British Columbia), Daniel Gilbert (Harvard University) and Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia) in their work on the topic say that the problem of such people is affective forecasting, that is, the inability to quickly adapt to new experiences and the inability to take into account the context in which the financial decision is made.                 

Experts give some advice on how to use large sums correctly if you won the lottery, inherited a fortune or woke up as a celebrity: you need to buy knowledge and experience, not material values; give yourself time to defer purchases or rewards for something; spend money to benefit others. And follow these tips or not, you decide for yourself when he won his first billion. 

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