The Personality Trait Linked To Good Mental Health

One trait can help protect you from anxiety and depression.

One trait can help protect you from anxiety and depression.

People with stable emotions are at a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression, research finds.

Emotional stability is linked to being better at dealing with stress and minor frustrations.

People who are emotionally stable usually find it easier to control their urges and are mostly unselfconscious.

On top of this, people with stable emotions tend to live longer, perhaps because it leads to a healthier lifestyle.

In contrast, being neurotic — the opposite of emotional stability — is linked to less happiness in life.

Unfortunately, the personality trait can lead to a shorter lifespan.

Part of the reason may be that worriers tend to self-medicate with alcohol, cigarettes and other unhealthy habits.

The conclusions come from a study of 1,788 men who were followed over 30 years.

The results showed that neurotic people were more likely to smoke and this was linked to higher mortality.

Professor Daniel K. Mroczek, the study’s first author, said:

“Research shows that higher levels of neuroticism can lead to earlier mortality, and we wanted to know why.

We found that having worrying tendencies or being the kind of person who stresses easily is likely to lead to bad behaviors like smoking and, therefore, raise the mortality rate.

This work is a reminder that high levels of some personality traits can be hazardous to one’s physical health.”

Reducing neuroticism

It is possible to change a neurotic personality, though, the results of 207 separate studies have found.

People become significantly less neurotic after undergoing therapy.

After only three months of treatment, people’s emotional stability had improved by half as much as it would over their entire adulthood.

After having psychotherapy and/or taking medication, people were also slightly more extraverted.

Both reduced neuroticism and increased extraversion were maintained in the long-term.

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Mroczek et al., 2009).

3 Personality Traits People Find It Hardest To Judge In Themselves

The traits that people find hardest (and easiest) to spot in themselves.

The traits that people find hardest (and easiest) to spot in themselves.

People are worst at judging their own levels of intelligence, attractiveness and creativity, research finds.

However, they are good at judging their own levels of anxiety and sadness.

The reason is that people are good at judging internal feelings because they have direct access to them.

However, people are worse at evaluating themselves in comparison to others.

The research underlines that we are not always at our best when judging ourselves.

Dr Simine Vazire, the study’s author, said:

“I think that it’s important to really question this knee-jerk reaction that we are our own best experts.

Personality is not who you think you are, it’s who you are.

Some people think by definition that we are the experts on our personality because we get to write the story, but personality is not the story — it’s the reality.

So, you do get to write your own story about how you think you are, and what you tell people about yourself, but there still is reality out there, and, guess what?

Other people are going to see the reality, regardless of what story you believe.”

We leave traces of our personality all around us, said Dr Vazire:

“Everything you touch you leave a mark of your personality.

You leave traces unintentionally.

You give off hints of your personality that you don’t even see yourself.”

For the study, 165 people were given tests of personality, intelligence and of how they reacted to various social situations.

The results showed that people were best at judging their own levels of anxiety.

Dr Vazire said:

“You probably know pretty well your anxiety level, whereas others might not be in the position to judge that because, after all, you can mask your inner feelings.

Others, though, are often better than the self in things that deal with overt behavior.”

Where people had difficulties, though, was in judging desirable personality traits in themselves, such as attractiveness, intelligence and creativity:

“…there is so much at stake, meaning your life is going to be so much different if you are intelligent or not intelligent, attractive or not.

Everybody wants to be seen as intelligent and attractive, but these desirable traits we’re not going to judge accurately in ourselves.”

Dr Vazire explained why these traits are so hard to judge in ourselves:

“We look in the mirror all the time, yet that’s not the same as looking at a photo of someone else.

If we spent as much time looking at photos of others as we do ourselves we’d form a much more confident and clear impression of the other’s attractiveness than we would have of our own.

Yet after looking in the mirror for five minutes we’re still left wondering, ‘Am I attractive or not?’ And still have no clue.

And it’s not the case that we all assume that we’re beautiful, right?”

The study was published in the  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vazire, 2010).

The Personality Trait Linked To The Worst Hangovers

The study of 97 social drinkers had them either drink six units of alcohol or remain sober.

The study of 97 social drinkers had them either drink six units of alcohol or remain sober.

Very shy people get highly anxious the day after drinking alcohol, research reveals.

Dubbed “hangxiety”, it involves a combination of being hungover and very anxious.

Compared to more outgoing people, the shy experience much higher levels of anxiety the day after drinking.

Professor Celia Morgan, who led the study, said:

“We know that many people drink to ease anxiety felt in social situations, but this research suggests that this might have rebound consequences the next day, with more shy individuals more likely to experience this, sometimes debilitating, aspect of hangover.

These findings also suggest that hangxiety in turn might be linked to people’s chance of developing a problem with alcohol.”

The study of 97 social drinkers had them either drink six units of alcohol or remain sober.

The results revealed that shy people felt slightly less shy while intoxicated.

However, they paid for this with much more anxiety the next day.

Ms Beth Marsh, the study’s first author, said:

“And while statistics show that, overall, people are drinking less, those with lower levels of health and wellbeing – perhaps including people experiencing anxiety – are still often doing so.”

Professor Morgan said:

“It’s about accepting being shy or an introvert.

This might help transition people away from heavy alcohol use.

It’s a positive trait.

It’s OK to be quiet.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Marsh et al., 2019).

This Is How Much Your Parents Really Shape Your Personality (M)

Is your personality more influenced by genetics, upbringing or something else?

Is your personality more influenced by genetics, upbringing or something else?

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4 Awesome Ways Exercise Changes Your Personality

Focusing on how habits are initiated is key to getting regular exercise.

Focusing on how habits are initiated is key to getting regular exercise.

Exercise makes people more extraverted and agreeable, research finds.

These are just two of the positive changes that modest amounts of exercise can have on personality.

Exercise also increases people’s conscientiousness and makes them more open to experience.

A few of the benefits of these personality changes include:

  • More extraverted people tend to have more positive emotions,
  • greater conscientiousness can lead to more success in life,
  • and being open to experience is linked to intelligence and creativity.

In contrast, those who remain sedentary tend to see the opposite pattern of changes to their personality.

These include reduced agreeableness, being more closed to experience and less conscientious.

The conclusions come from a study of over six thousand people who were followed for more than twenty years.

They each completed surveys that asked them about their personalities and levels of exercise.

The results showed that only relatively small amounts of exercise were linked to positive changes in personality over the years.

The study’s authors write:

“A physically inactive lifestyle has a range of long-term
biological, health and cognitive outcomes, such as higher risk of frailty, worse mental and physical health and declines in
memory and executive functions.

Such outcomes, in turn, may have a long-term impact on personality, such as reductions in the tendency to be self-disciplined and organized or to be exploratory and curious.

Indeed, cognitive decline, greater frailty, and more
depressive symptoms and disease burden have been associated with reduced conscientiousness and openness over time.”

Focusing on how habits are initiated is key to getting regular exercise, studies have found.

It’s all about making sure there are regular cues which prompt you to automatically exercise.

To create good exercise habits, you should focus on what starts you exercising, not what type of exercise you do.

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Stephan et al., 2018).

The Personality Trait That Protects Against Brain Aging

Personality can help sustain thinking skills in the face of brain aging.

Personality can help sustain thinking skills in the face of brain aging.

A conscientious personality helps protect against brain aging, a study finds.

Conscientious people tend to be well-organised, self-disciplined and motivated for achievement.

People who are higher on this personality trait, which is one of the five major aspects of personality, tend to have greater cognitive resilience.

Cognitive resilience is the ability to maintain strong thinking skills despite deterioration in the brain that occurs naturally with age.

Dr Eileen Graham, the study’s first author, said:

“These findings provide evidence that it is possible for older adults to live with the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias while maintaining relatively healthy levels of cognitive function.”

In contrast, a neurotic personality can increase the risk of worse cognitive functioning, the research also found.

People who are neurotic tend to be moody, impulsive and anxious.

They also tend to have lower cognitive resilience, meaning they find it harder to resist the brain’s deterioration with age.

Dr Graham said:

“Our study shows personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology.

Since it is possible for personality to change, both volitionally and through interventions, it’s possible that personality could be used to identify those who are at risk and implement early interventions to help optimize function throughout old age.”

The results come from a study of 1,375 people whose brains were examined for damage after they died.

These results were compared to years of tests previously done on their psychological and cognitive functioning.

It is one of the first studies to show that personality can help people to sustain their thinking skills despite brain aging.

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B (Graham et al., 2020).

This Situation Reveals People’s True Personality

People reveal their true selves when in this situation.

People reveal their true selves when in this situation.

Being in hurry makes people reveal their true personalities even more clearly, research finds.

Time pressure makes selfish people more selfish and it makes good-hearted people even nicer.

This is because, when in a rush, people tend to make the same choice they made before.

Dr Ian Krajbich, study co-author, said:

“People start off with a bias of whether it is best to be selfish or pro-social.

If they are rushed, they’ll tend to go with that bias.”

For the research, 102 people played an economic game, Dr Krajbich explained:

“The participants had to decide whether to give up some of their own money to increase the other person’s payoff and reduce the inequality between them.”

Sometimes people were given two seconds to decide, other times it was 10 seconds.

Dr Krajbich explained the results:

“We found that time pressure tends to magnify the predisposition that people already have, whether it is to be selfish or pro-social.

Under time pressure, when you have very little time to decide, you’re going to lean more heavily than usual on your predisposition or bias of how to act.”

Being forced to wait changed people’s decisions, said Dr Krajbich:

“People may still approach decisions with the expectation that they will act selfishly or pro-socially, depending on their predisposition.

But now they have time to consider the numbers and can think of reasons to go against their bias.

Maybe you’re predisposed to be selfish, but see that you only have to give up $1 and the other person is going to get $20.

That may be enough to get you to act more pro-socially.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (Chen & Krajbich, 2018).

The Personality Trait Linked To Infidelity

Infidelity is linked to low self-esteem, distress and divorce.

Infidelity is linked to low self-esteem, distress and divorce.

People high on the personality trait of ‘sexual narcissism’ are more likely to cheat on their partner, research finds.

Narcissists of this type are not just full of themselves in general, but full of themselves in the bedroom.

They are people who will do whatever it takes to sleep with whoever they like, as they feel they deserve it.

This sense of entitlement is one of the strongest signs of cheating behaviour.

They also tend to have an over-inflated idea of their skills in the bedroom.

However, they have little interest in what their partner wants and do not mind exploiting others.

The conclusions come from a study of 123 newlyweds who were tracked for between one and four years.

They were asked about their satisfaction with the relationship, narcissism and whether they had cheated on their partner.

The authors describe narcissism as…

“…a multifaceted personality style characterized by tendencies toward exploiting others, a general lack of empathy for others, and a pervasive confidence in one’s abilities”

The results revealed that 5% of couples experienced extramarital affairs in this period — half of the cheaters were husbands, half were wives.

Factors that predicted cheating, along with this type of narcissism, were low relationship satisfaction and the overall amount of narcissism of the couple together.

The authors confirm the damaging consequences of infidelity for a relationship:

“…infidelity can have serious negative consequences for those involved.

Not only is infidelity associated with decreased relationship satisfaction in both partners, it is has been identified as one of the most common predictors of divorce.

Further, those who commit infidelity and their partners also frequently experience negative intrapersonal outcomes, such as decreased self-esteem and increased psychological distress.”

The study was published in the journal ASB (McNulty & Widman, 2014).

Science Says Look for This Personality Trait in Your Partner

This personality trait was linked to less marital conflict.

This personality trait was linked to less marital conflict.

Positivity is one of the best personality traits for a partner, research finds.

Women who have positive partners report less marital conflict.

Other personality factors are also linked to a better relationship:

  • Women fought less with introverted men.
  • Women had less conflict with men who had stable emotions.

Marital conflict included things like criticism, too many demands or just getting on the other person’s nerves.

Along with personality factors, health was also important.

Women had less marital conflict if their partner was in good health.

Dr James Iveniuk, the study’s first author, said:

“Wives report more conflict if their husband is in poor health.

If the wife is in poor health, there doesn’t seem to be any difference in terms of the quality of the marriage for the husband.”

The conclusions come from a study of 953 hetersexual couples who had been together for an average of 39 years.

The results showed that the personality and health of the man was linked to marital conflict.

However, the woman’s personality and health made little difference in this regard, said Dr Iveniuk:

“Wives whose husbands show higher levels of positivity reported less conflict.

However, the wives’ positivity had no association with their husbands’ reports of conflict.”

Professor Linda J. Waite, study co-author, said:

“Several previous studies have been about the implications of marital status on health.

This research allows us to examine individual marriages and not ‘married people.’

We have the reports on the quality of the marriage from each person, about their own personality and their own health.”

The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family (Iveniuk et al., 2014).

A Peaceful Sign That You Are An Introvert

Discover the difference between healthy solitude and harmful isolation in this study.

Discover the difference between healthy solitude and harmful isolation in this study.

Both extraverts and introverts need solitude to recharge — although introverts prefer to have more alone time, psychologists find.

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily a red flag for depression or isolation, the research concludes.

In fact, choosing solitude can be a sign of self-acceptance and personal growth.

Periods of solitude can provide spiritual renewal, critical self-reflection and even a chance for creative expression.

Professor Margarita Azmitia, study co-author, said:

“Solitude has gotten a lot of bad press, especially for adolescents who get labeled as social misfits or lonely.

Sometimes, solitude is good.

Developmentally, learning to be alone is a skill, and it can be refreshing and restorative.”

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily about shyness or loneliness, Professor Azmitia said:

“There’s a stigma for kids who spend time alone.

They’re considered lacking in social skills, or they get labeled ‘loners’.

It’s beneficial to know when you need to be alone and when you need to be with others.

This study quantifies the benefits of solitude and distinguishes it from the costs of loneliness or isolation.”

The conclusions come from a study of 979 young people who completed a survey about solitude.

The results showed that those who sought solitude because they felt rejected were at a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

However, those who sought solitude for positive reasons did not face any of these risks.

Dr Virginia Thomas, the study’s first author, said:

“These results increase our awareness that being alone can be restorative and a positive thing.

The question is how to be alone without feeling like we’re missing out.

For many people, solitude is like exercising a muscle they’ve never used.

You have to develop it, flex it, and learn to use time alone to your benefit.”

Dr Thomas said both introverts and extraverts need solitude:

“Introverts just need more of it.

Our culture is pretty biased toward extroversion.

When we see any sign of shyness or introversion in children, we worry they won’t be popular.

But we overlook plenty of well-adjusted teens and young adults who are perfectly happy when alone, and who benefit from their solitude.”

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence (Thomas et al., 2019).

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