Is your personality type genuinely making you less likely to live a long life, or is it the opposite? It makes sense that personality type would have an impact on your health given how much personality influences our behaviors and routines. Your personality affects everything, including how often you visit the doctor and how you handle stress. Finding links between personality and physical health has long been a goal of philosophers, medical professionals, and researchers. Hippocrates and Galen argued that there were four senses of humor (or personality types) and that each was associated with a predisposition to specific bodily or mental disorders during the time of the ancient Greeks.
Research has revealed that personality traits may be significant health predictors, and interest in the subject has persisted over time. Children’s personality traits have been connected to later health and other important health markers, such as general longevity, according to research.
The common types of hard-working, bossy, and perfectionists are frequently used to define a person’s personality. Individuals that are competitive, impatient, tense, forceful, and even aggressive are more likely to exhibit these personality qualities. People with type A personalities are typically stereotyped as obsessive workers who will do whatever to succeed. They frequently feel the need to assert dominance both at work and in social settings, and they could derive their sense of self-worth and self-concept from their perceived triumphs. This personality type has gained attention ever since it was first identified in the 1950s, and studies have connected it to a number of harmful health outcomes. Numerous studies have found links between having a Type A personality and hypertension, stressful work, and social isolation.
A laid-back personality, also known as a Type B personality, is characterized by a great deal more ease and relaxation than its Type A counterpart. Types Bs are often less stressed and less competitive than Type As. These people are more likely to be motivated by a desire to enjoy them rather than by a need to succeed, triumph, or control. Not that Type Bs doesn’t value achievement—far from it. While they consistently work towards their objectives, they also take pleasure in the process and feel less stress if they do not succeed.
Being an artist, writer, actor, or therapist are just a few examples of jobs and pastimes that may appeal more to people with the Type B personality type. Type B personality is still linked to some health issues.
The “ready to please” personality type is characterized by accommodative, docile, and conforming behavior. Both benefits and drawbacks for health might come with this personality type. On the one hand, their desire to please others implies they are more likely to abide by their doctor’s instructions. People pleasers may be more prone to feel hopeless or helpless in the face of a bad health occurrence because of their passive personality.
You might experience unpleasant emotions in response to stress, irritation, and other negative emotions if you have a neurotic disposition. It is typical to have strong emotional responses to very modest life situations. Researchers have discovered that this characteristic can be used to predict a range of physical and mental diseases, as well as overall life expectancy. One review of the literature discovered that people with higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of the other Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness), particularly those with lower levels of conscientiousness, tended to be less healthy than their peers with lower levels of neuroticism. Physical health issues like cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and asthma may also be more prevalent in people with high neuroticism levels.
The type D personality was initially described in 1996 and is defined by “distressed” features like a lack of self-expression and a propensity for negative emotions. Type D personality is also linked to stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, rage, and loneliness. Additionally, there may be negative health effects. So what potential negative effects on health could a Type D personality have? According to one study, those with Type D personalities have a four times higher risk of dying than people with other personality types.
According to one study, those who are more outgoing, responsible, and pleasant are also likely to be healthier. This is partly because those who demonstrate higher levels of these characteristics also tend to interact with medical professionals more efficiently. According to a 2009 study, social support is related to physical health outcomes such as healthier behaviors, better-coping mechanisms, and adherence to prescribed medical procedures. Doctors and other health professionals have long recognized the significant protective effects that strong social relationships and support can have on both physical and mental health.
There is no doubt that personality and health are related. Consult your doctor for guidance on potential therapies, which may include psychotherapy, medication, or self-care, if you suspect that your personality, mental state, or behaviors are contributing to your condition or exacerbating your existing symptoms.