Study shows that being stingy with money increases stress levels
You may think being stingy is helping you save, but a recent study has shown that pinching the purse strings may actually affect our stress levels.
The study was conducted by Queensland University of Technology, published in PLOS One, which found that stingy behavior increases stress.
Researchers asked 156 volunteers to play a bargaining game and decide how to divide a sum of money. Using heart rate monitors, they found players who made low offers (below 40% of the total) experienced increased heart rate and stress levels compared to those who made high offers.
“We found low offers, typically below 40 per cent of the total, increased HRV activity and stress levels in both the proposer and responder.” Says Author Professor Uwe Dulleck, from QUT’s Queensland Behavioural Economics Group (QuBE)
Researchers claimed heart rate-based economic experiment measured mental stress when it comes to money and decision making, but the authors noted that stingy participants may also have experienced stress due to feelings of guilt.
“The responder also feels stressed with low offers – first, because they have suffered from unfairness, and second, because they have an opportunity to punish the proposer by rejecting the offer and leaving them both without any money.” Says co-author Dr Markus Schaffner, Manager of the QuBE Laboratory for Economic Experiments at QUT.
Prof Dulleck said, ‘the question which remains without a clear answer is: do emotions dictate behaviour or does behaviour induce emotional response?
“Our results can give no definite answer to this question, but do clearly indicate a link between emotional state and the decision.”
The study was among the first to use HRV in economic experiments to measure mental stress in economic decision making.
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Did you know that generosity helps improve wellbeing, social connection and relationships?
Giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin (a hormone that’s also released during sex), which induces feelings of warmth, euphoria and connection to others. This chemical reaction, when constantly repeated, improves well-being and life satisfaction and is also linked with decreased depression.
Not only that, but generosity is a natural confidence builder and repellent of self-hatred. Not only does it make us feel better about ourselves, it also actively combats feelings of isolation by fostering feelings of social connection.
Read our blog article Generosity improves social connection and relationships.
Year after year, more studies are highlighting the benefits of generosity on both our physical and mental health. Not only does generosity reduce stress, support physical health, enhance sense of purpose, and naturally fight depression, it is also shown to increase one’s lifespan… Read more.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
– Queensland University of Technology. “Don’t bet on stinginess to keep stress low.” ScienceDaily, 28 October 2014. Read article
– News & Views; Health, 4 Health Benefits of Being Generous. By Rachel Swalin, December 2014. Read article
– The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose. By Christian Smith, Hilary Davidson. Read publication
– Her. Feeling Stingy? This Study Shows It Could Be Causing You Stress… Read article
Discover more studies linking generosity to good health and longevity
Part three of volume three “The Why’s of Goodness” looks at the health benefits stemmed from being generous. This is supported by many studies and test cases, and is not just linked to financial generosity but from volunteering and reaching out to people that need it most. Read more on Volume 3.
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