Money worries will make you ill

  • This is why we all need a little help in troubled times
  • How to find the help you need
  • Eat yourself to better sleep

A few weeks ago I also talked about how happiness could protect you from serious disease.

I wrote that studies have found that a generally positive outlook on life could reduce the chance of breast cancer by a quarter….while the stress of divorce of a family death lifted that cancer risk by more than 60%.

So stress = bad. There’s no doubt about that.

After both of those Good Life Letters, I got a lot of emails from people (thanks for these!) explaining that staying stress free is getting harder and harder these days…

And I totally understand…

High fuel costs, soaring heating bills, rising inflation, expensive food prices, falling house prices….

These aren’t making for a happy Britain. All the above can play havoc with your stress levels and ultimately threaten your health.

Really, it’s a serious problem. You don’t see much written about the health consequences of financial meltdown in the papers…. but as a Good Life Letter reader, you know that your mental happiness dictates how well your immune system works.

According to Dr Derek Cox, the ex-Director of Public Health in Scotland: ‘If you are happy you are likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy’.

Andrew Steptoe, the British Heart Foundation Professor of Psychology also believes that the happier you are, the more your body is able to fend off heart disease and stroke.

‘We know that stress, which has bad effects on biology, leads to those bad changes as far as health is concerned. What we think is happening is that happiness has the opposite effect and has a protective effect on these same biological pathways’.

This all adds up to one conclusion…

The so called ‘credit crunch’ is NOT a healthy eating option.

Now, I’m a bit of a clutz when it comes to money.

My wife, thankfully, has her eye on the Collins coffers. I’m the sort of person who buys stuff on the credit card first, and thinks later.

When my wife met me I had debts coming out my ears, and other orifices. In those days, I used unopened bill envelopes as notepads.

So I’m not the man to speak to about your finances. I’ll happily admit that.

But help is out there for any who need it.

I am constantly impressed by the conduct and advice given by Martin Lewis on the Money Saving Expert site.

Many people I have spoken to also say how helpful the staff are at Citizens’ advice centres if you can access one, or even through their website.

What is important is to accept the issues you face.

Don’t bury your head in the sand, but make sure that you seek the help and advice that is out there.

It is vital to your health and wellbeing that you do not allow money to be a barrier to life.

Even if it is just sleepless nights, these will soon cause you health problems.

Let me offer some advice to help you in this respect.

Foods that help you sleep

On the subject of nutritional remedies for sleeplessness, stress and related headaches, here’s something for you to chew on…

If you’re struggling to sleep properly, perhaps you have low levels of melatonin.

This is a natural hormone made in your pineal gland, up near your brain.

To explain…

When it gets dark at night, your pineal gland is activated and starts to make melatonin.

This seeps into your blood stream like a drowsy drug.

As your levels of melatonin rise, you feel sleepier and ready for bed. This surge of melatonin lasts about 12 hours and drops dramatically by the following lunchtime.

So one way of helping yourself sleep better is to increase your intake of foods that contain melatonin. The best ones are oats and sweet corn. But melatonin is also found in ginger, bananas, cherries, tomatoes, cucumber, and rice.

Also herbal teas such as chamomile or passionflower can make it easier to get to sleep if drunk just before bedtime.

Definitely worth a try.