Whether you’re an introvert or extravert, your personality does more than encourage or hinder relationships. Your unique physical, mental, emotional and social characteristics affect your behavior, impacting your health positively and/or negatively. According to psychologist Dr. Rick Wirtz, your personality goes wherever you do — from work to the golf course to family time. Everything you do reflects your personal thoughts, feelings and beliefs. You choose foods, alcohol amounts, TV shows, hobbies, political affiliations and much more according to your personality.
Research links overall personality traits to long-term health effects. How you view your well-being, manage your health and react to illness demonstrate your character. Studies from around the world show that individual inclinations and habits predict future results accurately. If you haven’t considered your personality a health factor, discovering how specific traits influence particular medical outcomes can be enlightening.
Which Characteristics Can Improve Your Well-Being?
Conscientious: You’re probably a responsible, well-organized, persistent and cautious person who attends to details. Fastidious attributes make you more likely to schedule and keep health appointments. Reliability can increase your diet and weight loss success, according to University of Texas psychology professor Art Markman. You may be more prone to avoiding dangerous situations. An eight-decade study found that conscientiousness was the leading predictor of longevity.
Ambitious:University of California research found that disciplined and ambitious people live up to four years longer than those who are impulsive. You probably plan for regular checkups to monitor your health better than scatterbrained people.
Relaxed: Being relaxed is one of the best ways to avoid illness. Minimizing stress strengthens your immune system and lowers your heart disease risk.
Romantic: A University of North Carolina study found that women who hugged and kissed their partners regularly had lower blood pressure readings and heart rates than those with less physical contact. These displays of affection produce the bonding hormone oxytocin, which research has shown to reduce blood pressure. Generally, intimate contact makes both partners happier in their relationship, which reduces stress.
What Qualities Can Make Your Health Suffer?
Shy: Hiding in the background instead of speaking up has its drawbacks. A Northwestern University study in Chicago found social avoidance increased heart attack and stroke risks by about 40 percent, compared to more outgoing people. You may avoid medical appointments, delaying disease prevention, detection and treatment. Shyness may increase sympathetic nervous system activity, which causes your fight-or-flight response in dangerous and stressful situations. This may raise your viral infection risk.
Eager to please: As a people-pleaser, you may be passive about your health. Putting your family and friends’ health concerns above your own can cause you to ignore you own medical needs.
Impulsive: You’re more likely to make poor food choices, which can put you at risk for obesity-related health issues.
Moody: Fluctuating emotions can be disastrous for your waistline and lead to binging or fasting, causing extreme weight variations.
Stressed: If you stress easily, serious health consequences multiply. Besides weakening your immune system, stress can triple your heart disease risk. Studies associate increased stress with greater incidence of heart attacks and sudden death. One study found that significant work, home and financial stress led to heart attacks a year later. Stress also can make you susceptible to depression and other mental health issues.
Neurotic: When you’re emotionally reactive, you’re more likely to interpret normal situations as threatening. Minor problems may appear larger than reality. The neurotic trait can increase your coronary heart disease risk.
Argumentative: Regular heated arguments are more likely to cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, than controlled discussions, according to University of Utah studies. Relationship conflicts also can hinder your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle by disrupting your diet and exercise focus.
Hostile: According to Redford Williams, head of behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center and author of “Anger Kills,”hostility can have a huge negative impact on your health.It can make you eat and smoke more and exercise less than other personality types. You’re also more likely to be overweight in middle age with higher cholesterol and blood pressure.
Can Some Outlooks Have Both Positive and Negative Effects?
Outgoing: Being social can lead to improved coping skills, healthy behaviors, decreased stress, depression prevention and adherence to medical regimens. But always being the life of the party can encourage unhealthy habits like overeating and excessive alcohol consumption.
Optimistic: A positive nature is great for overall physical and mental health. Expecting the best reduces early death risk by 50 percent. Optimism makes you more likely to enjoy a longer, better life than those with negative outlooks, according to a Mayo Clinic study. By boosting your immune system and encouraging emotional health, an optimistic attitude can counteract some physical ailments. On the down side, confidence increases your likelihood of taking dangerous health risks. For example, you may believe you’re invincible to the dangerous consequences of smoking.
Worrisome: Fretting about life issues proportionally may help you avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But constant anxiety can lead to heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders and gastrointestinal conditions.
Take Charge of Your Life
To enhance your well-being, make a conscious effort to counteract any negative effects of your personality traits. Avoid stress by ordering your medications from a trusted online pharmacy, and improve your health by taking them on schedule.