More money, more problems? Not so, scientists say. Try more money, fewer health problems. A new study from the Hamilton Project says money may not buy happiness, but it can possibly buy you better health and mental well-being. However, stress among all Americans — along with income inequality — has increased since the 1970s.
Researchers collected data about Americans’ incomes, body mass indexes, stress levels and their self-reported well-being from 1976 to 1980 and 2009 to 2014. Among low-, middle- and high-income groups, those making more money were more likely to report better health, lower obesity rates and less stress.
So, what’s the connection? Scientists believe that while money may not buy you happiness itself, it can secure resources. More resources mean better health insurance, better access to health care overall and a more nutritious diet. With financial security comes health security. Those with less access to health care and resources are more likely to experience higher stress and anxiety over securing their basic needs, which can lower their life expectancy.
No matter what your income level is, everyone can benefit from stress management. If you are worried about money, first let go of any shame you have about the state of your bottom dollar, face the problem honestly and get some help. Deal with the sources of your money stress, such as credit card debt, student loans or simply living above your means. Make a plan to pay down your debts and pursue it aggressively. Simplify your life and decrease your expenses. By being proactive, you can feel better about yourself and be on your way to financial wellness, and a rich, healthy life.