How Your Personality Can Influence Your Health
Article from WebMD
Did you know that extroverts have stronger immune systems and narcissists are prone to heart problems? Find out how some personality traits can affect you physically.
Researchers can’t explain why exactly, but people who socialize more often appear to have stronger immune systems. In one study, people who said they spent more time around others were shown to be less likely to catch a cold.
Men who feel they deserve special treatment and tend to take advantage of other people may be more likely to have certain health conditions, including heart problems. This may be because researchers have found that they have unusually high levels of the stress-related chemical cortisol in their systems, even when they’re not in stressful situations. This isn’t the case for narcissistic women.
A positive outlook may boost your overall physical health. And if you do become ill, that attitude may help you deal with it and have a better quality of life. Research shows that optimists may be more likely to accept their illnesses and try to find the humor in difficult situations.
Some studies have shown that people who are resentful and unhappy are less likely to take their medicine as they should and may not sleep well. But other research has shown that if you tend to expect the worst, you might be more careful about your well-being and live longer.
Researchers have described this characteristic as curious, sociable, and cooperative. If this sounds like you, you might be more likely to exercise, stay engaged with the world around you, and do activities that work your brain, like crossword puzzles. Studies have found that these things may help you stay sharp mentally.
You might think of this as a “stiff upper lip” approach to life: an emphasis on independence and not complaining in the face of discomfort. But this personality trait can cause problems if you try to tough it out instead of getting help for a health issue.
This characteristic is linked to good health and long life, in part because you’re more likely to make good decisions. People with this trait tend to eat well and exercise, and they seem less likely to smoke, use drugs, drink too much, or do other unhealthy things. They’re also more likely to be better off financially and be in stable relationships, which boost your well-being.
This personality trait can lead to many kinds of unhealthy activities, including alcohol and drug abuse and behavioral addictions like compulsive gambling. It also may be linked to ulcers in men, but more research is needed to know for sure.
People who tend to be nervous or tense have a higher risk of certain conditions, including stroke and heart disease. High levels of angst may play a role in tension headaches and migraines, too.
A feeling that you’re in control can be good for your health. You’re more likely to take medicine the way your doctor prescribed it, for instance. But it can have a downside, too. If you feel emboldened to make decisions about your care when you don’t necessarily have good information, that can cause problems.
This trait is linked to some health problems, including heart disease. Researchers also found that people who have high levels of anger and aggression may be more likely to get certain types of migraines. Other diseases linked to those kinds of feelings include bulimia, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
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