Sharing your money makes you happy whereas being stingy makes you sick is what researchers at the University of British Columbia have found. These findings were recently published in the Journal of Health psychology and were headed by Liz Dunn, a social psychologist, who has been researching the link between generosity (in terms of economic decisions), physical health and happiness.

In general, it was found that generous people, seemed to feel much happier, and in turn, were healthier as opposed to those who were stingy.

In an experiment known as the ‘dictator game’ (a well-known economic game), fifty UBC students were given ten dollars, and were given the option to decide how much of this sum they would like to share with an assigned partner.

Cortisol levels of the participants were measured before and after the ‘dictator’ game (in order to measure their stress levels) while the participants were also asked to rate their current mood.

And the results of the study showed that for those who gave the ten dollars away, they felt much happier as well. For those who did keep the money, it was found that they experienced shame that resulted in the increase of cortisol levels (and negative emotions).

Lara Aknin, the co-author of this study (along with Elizabeth Dunn) also found that the amount of money that the participants kept for themselves “had an influence on downstream health behaviors as observed in cortisol.”

And so, the more money they kept for themselves, the more shame they felt, and this led to higher levels of cortisol, which is an indicator of stress and is linked to disease. Conversely, in an earlier study in 2008 where Dunn and Aknin worked with researchers at the Harvard Business School, it was found that people were much happier when they spent money on other people than themselves.