Role of money in health and happiness

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Role of money in health and happiness Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange. It is the medium in which prices and values are expressed. It circulates from person to person and country to country, facilitating trade, and it is the principal measure of wealth. Money helps us get some of life's intangibles — freedom or independence, the opportunity to make the most of our skills and talents, the ability to choose our own course in life, and financial security. With money, much good can be done and much unnecessary suffering can be avoided or eliminated. Further people need money to eat, sleep, dress, work, play, relate, heal, move about, and enjoy comforts. However, money has limitations too.

Role of money in health:

Money helps a sick/injured person recover quick and better. Money can buy costly medicine, get us quality health care and professional doctors. With huge money, governments can expand the public health infrastructure and hence better public health. Better health indicators in developed can be directly linked to money, though not always. Money plays a role in not only cure but also prevention. Well to do families spend more on healthy diet. They intake more fruits and vegetables, food rich in protein and vitamins compared to poor families whose diet is mostly based on carbohydrates.

Hence the immunity will be better developed for those who can spend more on food. Newly invented CRISPER-CAS 9 or stem cell therapy has potential to cure many un-curable diseases such as blood cancer etc. But these treatments are very costly and can only be afforded by those who are wealthy. Various health indicators such as, maternal/infant mortality rate, wasting and stunting are more in poorer sections of population. Obesity and related Diabetes is also more prevalent in third world nations compared to developed countries.

 Now a day, there is rise of non-communicable diseases which infects poor families less compared to rich and middle-class people. This is because of the difference in stress level and physical exercise rather than wealth. During COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more fatality and severity in developed nations compared few least developed countries of sub-Saharan nations. This is because of the inherent habits of people which make them more immune. Even doctors are suggesting to expose kids to natural environment of parks, trees etc so that they get natural immunity towards common cold etc. In effect, once a person gets sick/infected money can help in find a better cure. But money has limited role in giving active immunity to people. Even after getting sick psychological factors play equal role with medicine if not more, in recovery, again limiting the role of money.

Role of money in Happiness:

If we have less money than what we need, or if what we have is costing us too much, we can never be happy. If the money we have is not enough to feed our family daily/ not enough to afford our children’s education or our parents’ health care, we can never be happy. Similarly, for a decent living fulfilment of basic necessities is mandatory. Good health, Shelter, food, clothing, education, sanitation, access to clean environment etc all come under basic need and fulfilling each such need requires money. And fulfilling those needs also gives us happiness.

As the famous saying “money cannot buy happiness” goes, Money cannot really increase our happiness beyond meeting our basic requirements. If we look at Global Happiness Index, Nordic countries dominate the list compared to most advanced nations such as USA and Europe. Sleepless ness, anxiety, stress, greed etc all are signs of unhappiness directly or indirectly. These are most likely to be experienced by a person with enough wealth compared to a poor person. In this way, role of money in happiness and health are interlinked.

The happiness in the face of small kid is priceless when he receives a small present for his birthday. The same kid may not happy in future even if he gets the costliest car as present. The happiness we get when we eat sugar at home at childhood is no match to eating the costliest desert in a five star hotel. This is because gradually we are linking our happiness with the success/ material well-being and running for it, forgetting the beautiful like we already have.

Overall, Money can give us the time to appreciate the simple things in life more fully, but not the spirit of innocence and wonder necessary to do so. Money can give us the time to develop our gifts and talents, but not the courage and discipline to do so. Money can give us the power to make a difference in the lives of others, but not the desire to do so. It can give us the time to develop and nurture our relationships, but not the love and caring necessary to do so. How much money it costs is not the issue, but how much the money costs us is important because money should not cost us our soul, relationships, dignity, health, intelligence and joy in simple things of life. People who figure out what they truly value and then align their money with those values have the strongest sense of financial and personal wellbeing.

-Anusha Kolli

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