Financial problems can cause serious physical health troubles — but it’s not because cash strapped people are less likely to be able to afford doctor visits. The real health link to personal finance may surprise you.
Researchers looking at a correlation between uncertain economic times and increased complaints about physical pain have stumbled on something that should remind all of us the importance of taking a little quiet time to reflect on the good things in life.
It turns out, when we feel like our finances — and, by extension, our lives — are spiraling out of control, aches and pains increase throughout our bodies.
“Overall, our findings reveal that it physically hurts to be economically insecure,” explained researcher Eileen Chou of the University of Virginia. “Results from six studies establish that economic insecurity produces physical pain, reduces pain tolerance, and predicts over-the-counter painkiller consumption.”
Looking over consumer data, the researchers learned that households where both adults were unemployed spent about 20 percent more on over-the-counter pain remedies than those where at least one adult was working.
This is no coincidence…
Financial problems + anxiety = depression
Money is a huge cause of anxiety. Studies have shown that this is true even for financially secure individuals. Lose your job or get hit with a big unexpected expense and that anxiety can increase dramatically.
Financial problems and the anxiety it causes can lead to depression. And we know there is a clear link between depression and physical pain.
As noted in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: “Symptoms associated with depression include joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes. In the primary care setting, a high percentage of patients with depression present exclusively with physical symptoms.”
Reduce your stress… for free!
The good news for those of us feeling pain related to the stress of financial problems is that we can make it better… for free.
That’s right, as internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner Dr. Mark Wiley notes: “You can do positive things, focus on those things and people for which you are most grateful, find things you love to do and share your good experiences with others.
“Exercising can help with this; it boosts the feel-good chemicals in the body and gets the blood moving to help the body feel better. Eating well nourishes body and brain, too. Meditating or engaging in yoga or tai chi can also help reduce stress and relax body and mind.”
For more tips on relieving stress and beating depression and pain without expensive medical treatments check out these helpful posts: