This Is The Most Stressful Personality Trait

The personality trait strongly linked to stress and 11 ways to reduce the toxic emotion.

The personality trait strongly linked to stress and 11 ways to reduce the toxic emotion.

People who are higher in the personality trait of neuroticism are more susceptible to stress, a large review of the research finds.

Neuroticism is one of the five major aspects of personality — it runs on a continuum from very stable to very neurotic, with most people in the middle of the range.

People higher in neuroticism are at greater risk of depression as they have a stronger response to frustration, threat and loss.

The other four aspects of personality were all negatively related to stress.

In other words, people who are more agreeable, conscientious, extraverted and open to experience are less likely to have a ‘stressful personality’.

Dr Bo Zhang, the study’s first author, said:

“Stress is a significant mental and physical health issue that affects many people and many important domains of life, and some individuals are more likely to experience or perceive stress disproportionately or more intensely than others, which can then play a role in mental and physical health problems such as anxiety or depression.

We found that individuals high in neuroticism demonstrated a relationship with both stressor exposure and perceived stress that was stronger than the other four personality traits.”

The conclusions come from a review of around 300 separate studies on the link between stress and personality.

Neuroticism was the personality trait most strongly linked to stress, explained Dr Zhang:

“The other main personality factors have a link to stress, but it’s not as pronounced as in someone who’s neurotic.

With agreeableness and conscientiousness, for example, it is possible that agreeable people are less likely to encounter stressful situations such as interpersonal conflict because of the tendency to be caring, understanding and forgiving.

Similarly, conscientious people are less likely to experience stress because their good self-regulation abilities can protect them from the encounters of stressful experiences, as well as the negative psychological impacts of stressors.”

Neurotics, though, are more likely to find themselves in stressful situations, said Dr Zhang:

“Neuroticism and stress share common components, so individuals high in neuroticism are likely to play an instrumental role in generating stressors and reacting to a wide variety of events in negative ways, leading to an increased likelihood or chronicity of negative experiences.”

11 ways to reduce stress

Scientifically supported ways of reducing stress include:

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review (Luo et al., 2022).

10 Personality Traits Linked To Better Mental Health

These are the healthiest personality traits, as rated by psychologists.

These are the healthiest personality traits, as rated by psychologists.

The healthiest personality traits include stable emotions, openness to feelings, the experience of positive emotions and being agreeable, research finds.

People with these traits tend to have higher self-esteem, be more optimistic and find it easier to regulate their emotions.

The conclusions come from a survey of both professional psychologists and college students, totalling in the thousands.

Both gave surprisingly similar answers to what constitutes a healthy personality, said Dr Wiebke Bleidorn, the study’s first author:

“People in general, no matter whether they are experts or not, seem to have quite a clear idea of what a healthy personality looks like.”

The study revealed that people with the healthiest personalities have the following traits:

  1. Straightforwardness
  2. Competence
  3. Openness to feelings
  4. Warmth
  5. Positive emotions
  6. Low depression
  7. Low anxiety
  8. Low impulsivity
  9. Low stress vulnerability
  10. Low anger hostility

Naturally, those with healthy personalities also scored lower in narcissism and exploitativeness.

However, they scored higher in more healthy aspects of narcissism, such as self-sufficiency and grandiosity.

Similarly, on tests of psychopathy, healthy people scored lower on negative traits like disinhibition, but higher on positive traits like boldness.

The study’s authors concluded:

“Individuals with high scores on the healthy personality index were psychologically well-adjusted, had high self-esteem, good self-regulatory skills, an optimistic outlook on the world, and a clear and stable self-view.

These individuals were low in aggression and meanness, unlikely to exploit others, and were relatively immune to stress and self-sufficient.”

The study was published in PsyArXiv (Bleidorn et al., 2018).

These Two Personality Traits Indicate A Strong Immune System

A stronger immune system helps fight off disease and is linked to living longer.

A stronger immune system helps fight off disease and is linked to living longer.

Both being extraverted and conscientious are linked to having a stronger immune system, two studies have found.

Conscientious people tend to be self-disciplined and they aim for achievement.

People who are conscientious have, among other things, a preference for order, responsibility and self-control.

Meanwhile, people who are extraverted tend to be focused on the world around them and are most happy when surrounded by people and when active.

Extraverts have much lower levels of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-6 in their blood stream than introverts.

Low levels of interleukin-6 are often a marker that the immune system is functioning better.

In the first of the two studies, 100 people’s interleukin-6 levels were compared with their score on the five major personality traits: openness to experience, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Dr Benjamin Chapman, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“Our study took the important first step of finding a strong association between one part of extroversion and a specific, stress-related, inflammatory chemical.

The next step is to determine if one causes the other.”

In the second study, 957 adults were tracked over 14 years.

Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“We found that part of the reason why people who score higher on the personality trait of conscientiousness live longer is as a result of their immune system, specifically due to lower levels of a biological marker called interleukin-6.

There are likely further biological mechanisms that are yet to be discovered which will give a clearer picture of all the different ways that our personalities are so critical to our long-term health.”

The studies were both published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity (Chapman et al., 2009; O’Súilleabháin et al., 2021).

The Fun Personality Trait That Makes People Happier

The trait was stimulated in people through doing a series of simple exercises.

The trait was stimulated in people through doing a series of simple exercises.

Becoming more playful makes people happier, research finds.

Playfulness was stimulated in people through doing a series of simple exercises.

One involves writing down three playful moments experienced during the day just before bedtime.

Another simple exercise used was reflecting on playful behaviour people had seen in themselves during the day.

Those who did this for a week became more playful and felt happier.

Playful people can transform humdrum situations, like repetitive tasks, into games.

They may enjoy word games, mental games and have an insatiable curiosity.

Being playful has a number of advantages including being able to adopt new perspectives, having an eye for detail and creativity.

Playful people enjoy unusual things and are good at creating situations people can enjoy.

Indeed, playfulness is one of the most attractive personality traits.

Playful people, though, are easily bored, explained Professor René Proyer, the study’s first author:

“Particularly playful people have a hard time dealing with boredom.

They manage to turn almost any everyday situation into an entertaining or personally engaging experience.”

The study included 533 people, half of whom were given three activities designed to boost their playfulness:

  1. Write down three playful situations from the day.
  2. Be playful in an unfamiliar situation.
  3. Reflect on playful behaviour experienced during the day.

Mr Kay Brauer, study co-author, said:

“Our assumption was that the exercises would lead people to consciously focus their attention on playfulness and use it more often.

This could result in positive emotions, which in turn would affect the person’s well-being.

Our study is the first intervention study on adults to show that playfulness can be induced and that this has positive effects for them.”

The results showed that the exercises did lead to increased playfulness and a boost to happiness.

Professor Proyer said:

“I believe that we can use this knowledge in everyday life to improve various aspects.

This does not mean that every company needs table tennis tables or a playground slide.

However, one idea would be to allow employees to consciously integrate playfulness into their everyday work and, as a supervisor, to set an example for this kind of behaviour.”

The study was published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being (Proyer et al., 2020).

What Your Musical Taste Says About Your Personality

A 15 second clip was enough to reveal aspects of personality.

A 15 second clip was enough to reveal aspects of personality.

People who like more sophisticated music, like opera and jazz are higher in openness to experience, research finds.

People who are open to experience are more likely to be imaginative, sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety.

Openness to experience, one of the five major facets of personality, is also linked to higher intelligence.

The study also found that those who like music that is unpretentious, relaxing and acoustic, like folk and country, tend to be more extraverted.

Extraverts are outgoing and energetic.

The final personality trait linked to musical taste was agreeableness.

Agreeable people tended to like all types of music more.

The study based its findings on putting music into one of five categories:

  • Mellow – romantic and relaxing, like R&B, soft rock and adult contemporary.
  • Unpretentious – relaxing country, folk and acoustic.
  • Sophisticated – complex and dynamic, like opera, classical, jazz and world.
  • Intense – loud, distorted and aggressive music, like rock, punk and heavy metal.
  • Contemporary – includes electronic, dance, rap and Euro-pop.

Only the ‘sophisticated’ and ‘unpretentious’ types were related to personality, the researchers found.

Liking contemporary, intense or mellow music, therefore, does not tell us anything in particular about your personality.

The conclusions come from a survey of 22,252 people who were played unfamiliar clips of music just 15 seconds long and asked to rate them.

These were then compared with tests of the five personality factors: openness to experience, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

The study’s authors write that…

“…people who have a need for creative and intellectual stimulation prefer unconventional and complex musical styles, and that people who are sociable and enthusiastic prefer musical styles that are energetic and lively.”

The authors conclude:

“These results corroborate that music – a form of self-expression that is ubiquitous across human cultures – communicates meaningful information about basic psychological characteristics.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Nave et al., 2018).

The Personality Traits Linked To Higher Social Status

These personality traits are universally linked to higher social status.

These personality traits are universally linked to higher social status.

The traits that help a person climb the social ladder include honesty, intelligence and being hard-working, research finds.

Across 14 different countries and societies, researchers found that the traits linked to higher social status were remarkably consistent.

Similarly, being knowledgeable, making sacrifices for others and being kind increased a person’s social status.

Having a long-term mate is also seen as positive for social status for both men and women.

The traits that universally decreased a person’s social status are, unsurprisingly, being unclean, a thief and mean and nasty.

Professor David Buss, the study’s first author, said:

“Humans live in a social world in which relative rank matters for nearly everything — your access to resources, your ability to attract mates, and even how long you live.

From an evolutionary perspective, reproductively relevant resources flow to those high in status and trickle slowly, if at all, to those lower on the social totem pole.”

The researchers surveyed 2,751 people in 14 countries about 240 different factors that might affect a person’s social status.

The results showed that certain factors were widely perceived as positive, said Professor Buss:

“From the Gypsies in Romania to the native islanders of Guam, people displaying intelligence, bravery and leadership rise in rank in the eyes of their peers.

But possessing qualities that inflict costs on others will cause your status to plummet, whether you live in Russia or Eritrea.”

There were some interesting kinks in the results.

Men gain more status from taking risks and being physically brave.

Women gain more status from their appearance and domestic skills.

Apparently, not enough has changed in the gender wars in this respect.

A sense of humour, meanwhile, is generally positive for social status, but less so in East Asian countries like China, South Korea and Japan.

Practising witchcraft is only a problem for your social status if you happen to live in Eritrea or Zimbabwe, the research found.

Finally, catching a sexually transmitted disease, along with being dirty, unclean and nasty decrease a person’s social status, Professor Buss said:

“Although this study was conducted prior to the current pandemic, it’s interesting that being a disease vector is universally detrimental to a person’s status.

Socially transmitted diseases are evolutionarily ancient challenges to human survival, so humans have psychological adaptations to avoid them.

Lowering a person’s social status is an evolutionarily ancient method of social distancing from disease vectors.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Buss et al., 2020).

How To Turn Negative Personality Traits To Advantage (M)

One way to deal with less attractive personality traits.

One way to deal with less attractive personality traits.

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This Personality Trait Is A Sign Of High Empathy

Empathic people are likely to have this personality trait.

Empathic people are likely to have this personality trait.

People with the personality trait of agreeableness are more likely to be highly empathic, research finds.

Agreeable people tend to be friendly, warm and tactful — always taking into account other people’s feelings.

Agreeable people also tend to be trusting, modest, straightforward and compliant.

Psychologists have found that agreeable people are more likely to help others out — and this is partly down to empathy.

In one experiment, participants read stories about someone else having a difficult time.

Afterwards, they rated how likely they would be to help out and how much empathy they would feel for them.

The results showed that people high in agreeableness were more likely to feel empathy for the victim and to be motivated to help them out.

Interestingly, the study also found links between empathy and being neurotic, although neurotic people were more focused on themselves, while agreeable people focused on the other person.

Dr Meara Habashi, the study’s first author, said:

“It is common for persons to experience distress on seeing a victim in need of help.

That distress can lead some people to escape, and to run away from the victim.

But distress does not need to block helping because it may be one first-appearing aspect of empathy.

Distress can actually contribute to helping, but the way it contributes depends on personality.”

Less agreeable people seem to need more reminders that they should help out, said Dr Habashi:

“Personality matters.

It matters in how we structure our request for help, and it matters in how we respond to that request.

Helping is a result of several different processes running in sequence.

Each process contributes something different.

The way we ask for help -perspective taking — can influence our chances for getting it.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Habashi et al., 2016).

This Personality Trait Cuts Alzheimer’s Risk In Half

A study of hundreds of nuns and monks reveals which trait cuts Alzheimer’s risk in half.

A study of hundreds of nuns and monks reveals which trait cuts Alzheimer’s risk in half.

Being conscientious cuts the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in half, research finds.

People who are conscientious tend to be more organised, responsible and in control of their impulses.

The study’s authors explain:

“Conscientiousness (eg, “I am a productive person who always gets the job done”) refers to a tendency to be self-disciplined, scrupulous, and purposeful.”

They are also more likely to follow through on their duties and obligations.

The study of hundreds of nuns and monks found that those who were more productive and reliable were less likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s.

People high on conscientiousness were also more likely to experience a slower cognitive decline with age and lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (a risk factor for Alzheimer’s).

The results come from a study of 997 elderly nuns, priests and monks, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study.

Many were followed up for more than a decade.

The brains of those that died were examined for markers of Alzheimer’s.

The study revealed that those with the highest levels of conscientiousness were at an 89% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those with the lowest levels.

Surprisingly, the results could not be explained by conscientious people living more healthily.

Instead, the authors write that it could be partly down to education:

“…conscientiousness is a consistent predictor of academic and occupational performance.

Both level of educational and occupational attainment and the nature of occupational experiences have been associated with risk of AD.

Highly conscientious people may have a more intensive exposure to these educational and occupational experiences than less conscientious individuals and thereby derive additional benefit.”

Being conscientious may also buffer against life stress, they write:

“Conscientiousness is associated with a higher level of resilience and greater reliance on task-oriented coping.

These factors might lessen the adverse consequences of negative life events and chronic psychological distress, which have been associated with risk of dementia in old age.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (Wilson et al., 2007).

The Clearest Sign Of A Trustworthy Personality Type

People who are prone to this emotion feel more responsibility towards others.

People who are prone to this emotion feel more responsibility towards others.

People who are prone to anticipate feeling guilty are the most trustworthy, research finds.

Compared with other personality traits like openness, neuroticism and extraversion, it is guilt-proneness that best predicts people’s trustworthiness.

Anticipating guilt is key, because it means a person is considering how guilty they will feel if they do something wrong…

…and this stops them doing it.

This is different from feeling guilt after doing something wrong, which encourages people to try and make up for the transgression.

People who are prone to anticipating guilt, though, feel more responsibility towards others and are much less likely to behave exploitatively.

The results come from a series of six studies in which people played economic games that tested their behaviour.

In these games, people more prone to anticipating guilt were more likely to return money to others.

The authors write:

“Trust and trustworthiness are critical for effective relationships and effective organizations.

Individuals and institutions incur high costs when trust is misplaced, but people can mitigate these costs by engaging in relationships with individuals who are trustworthy.

Our findings extend the substantial literature on trust by deepening our understanding of trustworthiness: When deciding in whom to place trust, trust the guilt-prone.”

Dr Emma Levine, the study’s first author, said:

“Our research suggests that if you want your employees to be worthy of trust, make sure they feel personally responsible for their behavior and that they expect to feel guilty about wrongdoing.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Levine et al., 2018).

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