How Money Affects Well-Being

To be healthy and live longer, just being rich is enough! What could be easier? Of course, this is sarcasm. Nevertheless, not all research on money topics are jokes and much of it is even useful. In this article, we collected information on how to borrow properly (spoiler: it is better to not), save up for the future, and generally handle bills from a healthy point of view.

Why Money Affects Our Health?

Worrying about money is stressful. Stress causes a “fight or flight ” reaction that developed in humans as a survival mechanism when confronted with a real or potential threat. When this happens, stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, are released to help us either fight or run. This depletes an organism, influencing all its functions, including protective functions. In other words, debt simply makes us more vulnerable to infections.

Under the influence of stress, we start making the wrong decisions. This is because under stress, activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, tonsils, and frontal lobes decreases. Since these parts of the brain are responsible for concentration and planning, a person’s behavior becomes compulsive and erratic.

Financial Stress and Its Consequences

Debt is one of the main sources of mental stress. It’s not very important whether it’s a few hundred dollars that you owe to your sister or large loan debt. According to a report published by the American Psychological Association in 2018, money ranks second as the main cause of stress. The number one cause of stress was the future of the nation and the third was work.

It is obvious that stress from financial problems and (or) financial instability can cause psychological difficulties which, in turn, only exacerbate the difficulty of the financial situation. A survey among Americans with at least a thousand dollars in debt showed that 38% of them had trouble with sleeping, 48% lost their optimism, and 47% had low self-esteem.

Statistics say that those who have debts are eight times more likely to commit suicide. At the same time, a group of scientists from Emory University claims that even a minimal increase in wages can prevent thousands of suicides. The risk is reduced by 3.5-6% for every extra dollar earned per hour.

How Debts Affect Health Indicators

Specialists already use the term “financial health” and this is no coincidence. Money affects our physical well-being too much to be ignored. A study conducted in 2015 found that people age  24–32, who had debts, had higher blood pressure which was a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke. These people often complained about bad health in general, although this age group should have the best health indicators.

In another study, respondents reporting recent financial stress had a 13-times higher risk of having a heart attack than respondents with minimal concern about money. Moreover, a study conducted at Duke University suggested that a patient’s low credit rating can be used to predict an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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

At the same time, many people who borrow money and can not repay it are embarrassed by this fact, which provokes social isolation. The latter is a predictor of early mortality along with obesity, smoking, and alcoholism.

What happens when people have no debt? Besides the fact that the psychological state of a person naturally improves, they acquire healthy habits. This fact can be proved by a study in which 69% of respondents admitted that they choose healthier food when having enough money.

Is It Possible to Pick up Harmful Bacterias From a Bill?

Although this happens quite rarely because our immunity copes with its responsibilities perfectly, in theory, it is really possible. A study conducted in 2010 found that 94% of 68 tested banknotes were contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria. Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli were found on some banknotes.

Bacteria, unlike viruses, can live on dry surfaces for up to several weeks. So if you want to reduce the risks, after paying for your morning coffee at  Starbucks, it is better to avoid touching your nose and other mucous membranes.

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