To many of us, $500 for a relaxation course sounds expensive and hard to justify when there are kids to educate, engines to tune, toilets to unclog… but a new study has found that spending a handful of hundreds on learning how to manage stress is worth more than it costs—up to $25,000 more, in fact.
So why is learning how to chill out such a money saver? A new study published in PLOS One found that after people took an eight-week stress management course (one that comprised relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and stress-reduction exercises as well as other training that involved social support, cognitive skills and positive psychology), the participants used clinical services 43 percent less frequently than before they had taken it.
According to a piece in Time magazine, up to 70 percent of patients visit the doctor because their body is showing signs of stress—in various forms from irritable bowel syndrome to insomnia, back pain and headaches—and these stress-related conditions are one of the highest healthcare expenditures (after heart disease and cancer). If you eliminate physical manifestations of stress by minimizing stress itself, health care costs seem to plummet.
Hopefully this study will encourage insurance companies to test its hypothesis by offering stress-management and resiliency courses free of charge. I know I’d be first in line to sign up (though it’s actually kind of stressful to think about where I’d find the time…).