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Stress and Money

This past week Newsweek had a series of articles related to stress and how different people cope. Given the latest economic climate it is easy to see how many of us could feel stressed out and overwhelmed by the situations we find ourselves in. The most interesting article was written by Ben Sherwood who followed the work of Dr. Andy Morgan from the Yale Medical School. Morgan went to Fort Bragg to study the Army’s elite Airborne. He measured different factors to see if he could determine who would be successful and who wouldn’t.

Interestingly, he found that those who managed their stress better tended to graduate higher in their class as well as complete their given programs. However, it wasn’t quite as simple as you might think. He actually found that the elite soldiers were completely wired differently. These soldiers gave off more NPY ( Neuropeptide Y) in their bodies. This chemical helps to regulate blood pressure, appetite, learning and memory.

In one test would be soldiers are tied with their hands behind their back and legs together. They are then thrown in a pool. Those with higher levels of NPY tend to do better. Instead of fighting the water they tended to remain calm, fall to the bottom and then push off the bottom for air.

What I find interesting about the results of the study is that managing stress for the rest of us can actually be more difficult and we may have to take active steps to calm ourselves to reduce stress and make correct decisions. Most of us know that emotions can get in the way of making proper financial decisions. Emotions make us sell assets when we are scared instead of holding on for better market conditions. They make us buy snake oil that won’t really help us.

Sherwood has created a website called for the rest of us to learn how survivors are different and how we can try to emulate them.

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