1 December 2016
- The conclusion is clear: We are out of balance in a way that is endangering our health, and our relationship with money plays an outsized role in a nationwide health epidemic. As a research psychologist studying stress and mental, physical and emotional health, I’ve spent the last several years examining how we deal with money in an effort to deepen a scientific understanding of how it impacts our health. In the past, I’ve worked with people in varying states of stress, including Marines and humanitarian workers. Today, I study the presence and effects of what we are calling acute financial stress (AFS), essentially financial PTSD.
Our findings are multifold. We’ve found that financial stress is affecting our cognitive processes. It’s also damaging our bodies, leaving millions of Americans sick in ways we’re just beginning to understand. We know that stress disproportionately contributes to many causes of mortality nationwide, and stress over money is a significant, though widely ignored, contributor. Part of this puzzle is what we’re calling ‘financial personality.’ Basically, a majority of us don’t have the natural cognitive and organizational styles of those who excel at the kind of thinking that financial planning requires, leaving many of us exceptionally vulnerable to chronic stress.
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