Good News! Recession May Make You Healthier

Financial woes bring a refocus on simple pleasures, cutting clutter - and less death!

Crank your Pollyanna meter to 100 for this one: a New York Times piece points out that the recession may be a lifestyle blessing in disguise - at least where your health is concerned.

Setting aside the trillions of bailout dollars, unprecedented employment claims, and general end-of-days atmosphere, writer Tyler Cowen says there's historical precedent for economic downturns unexpectedly resulting in a healthier - potentially happier - populace. He points to a stunning research finding: that the death rate drops as unemployment rises.

In the Great Depression, no money meant swapping nights on the town for huddling around the radio and playing parlor games, says Cowen - nowadays this might mean forgoing "expensive vacations and NBA box seats" for taking walks and checking out the library. All of which serve to cut the clutter of everyday life and refocus our attention on simple pleasures and spending more time with family.

And! No money means fewer car trips (and thus fewer accidents), less booze and cigarettes, and electing to cook at home over fast food or pricey takeout (which means we'll probably be seeing more of Rachael Ray, if that's humanly possible).

Read all the ways the recession can be a boon for your health here.

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