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Being Broke Causes Actual Physical Pain

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Being broke hurts, says new research from the University of Virginia and Columbia University.

In one study, researchers asked students to think about either entering an uncertain job market or a booming one after graduation. Then scientists measured the students' pain tolerance by asking them to keep their hands in a bucket of ice water for as long as they could. (Sounds fun.) The results: Students forced to worry about their economic future had lower pain tolerance than those asked to imagine a best-case scenario situation.

Other research found that adults who felt insecure about their financial situation or lived in a state with high levels of income insecurity also reported that they experienced higher levels of physical pain in their daily lives as measured by a four point scale. Yikes.

Another interesting tidbit from the research: Households with two unemployed adults bought 20 percent more over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol than households where at least one adult was holding down a job.

Stress and anxiety have long been tied to physiological effects (just think about the sweaty palms or upset stomach you notice right before a big moment at work). But where does the money part come in? It's the lack of control that can serve as an underlying physiological mechanism for physical pain, says Eileen Chou, Ph.D., lead author on the study. In other words, feeling a lack of agency over your bank account or job prospects is pretty stressful—and that stress can be a blow to not only your mental health, your but physical well-being too.

But other than coming into some serious green, there is something you can do about this phenomenon. These studies were all about perception, not actual income brackets or bank figures. So that means—to some extent—handling pain is about how in control of your finances you feel.

Not happy with the balance in your checking account? Feeling dismal about your job prospects? Instead of freaking, start with these 5 Tips For Getting Fiscally Fit. Then really give your bank account a boost with these 16 Money Tips Every Woman Should Know By Age 30.

Your bod (and bank account) will thank you.

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