Are you calm or hostile? Stressed or social? Optimistic or pessimistic? Recent studies have found that our personality determines and affects our health. Our personality can kill us or prolong our lives, it can give us heart disease or strengthen our immune system. Keep reading to learn more about the 8 recognized personality types and the impact each one has on a person’s health, you might just save your own life!
The main characteristics of Type A personality are impatience and hostility. These may increase the risk of heart disease. Hostile people tend to overeat, smoke excessively, and lack physical activity much more than other types. Hostility increases the chance of being overweight in middle age, blood pressure, and high cholesterol. A recent study on the subject found that hostile types tend to develop irregular heartbeat and die before the age of 50. Most of these problems can be related to high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), as well as inflammation of the coronary artery walls (which supply blood to the heart), increasing the risk of a heart attack.
The authors of the study advise hostile types to learn how to remove their stinger. According to them, heart patients who participate in workshops that develop coping skills have a lower incidence of depression and have normal blood pressure, compared with those who do not. The key, they say, is to learn how to communicate clearly and how to control anger and negative emotions. When you get angry, try asking yourself four questions: Is this really important to me? Does what I feel match reality? Do I have the power to change the situation in a positive way? Is taking such action worth the effort? Meditation, deep breathing and yoga can also help.
While hostile type A’s are often characterized by competitiveness, a desire to succeed, a sense of urgency and stress, and a tendency towards uncalculated risks, even non-hostile types can suffer from a similar impulsivity that isn’t good for health. The impulsive type is one that does not base decisions on rationality; they may identify an opportunity as being exclusively fun without weighing the pros and cons. The impulsive type may ignore health risks or not take them into account, thereby harming themselves. This personality type can lead to all kinds of harmful activities such as alcohol and drug abuse as well as compulsive gambling.
If you’re a Type B, it means that you are calm, take life easy and face stress without losing it. This indicates a high quality of life, and a low probability of having panic attacks, heart disease and infections caused by a low immune system. The more relaxed a person is, the better their health since the ability to cope with stress is a sure recipe for longevity. Researchers say relaxation helps the heart, digestive system, and blood function properly.
Extroverts who are involved in community life and have strong social connections, reap health benefits. An examination of 148 studies published in the online journal PLoS Medicine found that adults who live rich social lives improve their chances of survival by about 50 percent. A study published in 2009 on behavioral science perspectives found that widespread social support improves individual coping skills, promotes healthy behavior and observance of a medical schedule. It was found that the connection to people reduces stress and improves the function of the immune system. One of the most prominent explanations for this influence stems from elements of involvement in the lives of others and acceptance of a position. For example: How can I feel bad for myself when this ‘so and so’ is going through this.
Those who are eager to please are type C and are characterized mainly by conformity and passivity. It can be good when they are required to demonstrate high discipline, but most times they do not initiate treatment or help. For example, if a doctor decides on a treatment for them, they will stick to it obediently, but they probably won’t initiate a doctor's appointment in the first place or won’t agree to go to the appointment. People pleasers tend to accept their fate as unavoidable and fall easily into despair and helplessness. It means that others must motivate them and make sure they take care of themselves; otherwise, they simply will not keep their health. If they have a medical problem they may complain, hoping someone else will offer them a solution, or they will remain so passive that they won’t admit they’re hurting, even if the situation is severe.
People who are stuck on negative emotions are afraid to express themselves in social situations, and compared to optimistic people, they have a threefold increased risk of heart problems, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Type D personality was defined in the 1990s as characterized by negative feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and loneliness. These types of people will often expect the worst, have difficulty acquiring friends and often suffer from low self-esteem and over-judgment. They are tense, chronically angry, and overactive in stressful situations. They tend to hide their feelings, because of fear of rejection. The depressive type is highly likely to suffer from obesity and compulsive eating, as well as drug use.
Because they have no outlet for stress and stress, they suffer from high levels of cortisol, which increases blood pressure and can cause chronic inflammation of the circulatory system, heart failure, and even death. The problem is that they often prefer not to discuss worrying symptoms with their doctor.
A study published in 2010 in Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health concluded 15 years of tracking the health of 500 men; according to it, the chances of optimistic people dying from heart-related health events are 50 percent lower than that of pessimists.
In principle, optimists enjoy a high quality of life and may be considered "more resilient" in coping with stress and life challenges. If they encounter a problem, they are able to cope with it better and therefore suffer less from symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. In contrast, the "glass half empty" types tend to be depressed and anxious.
The researchers note, of course, that optimism should also be proportionate, as optimists can sometimes think of themselves as invincible. The best example of this are optimists who smoke – they often believe they won’t develop lung cancer and therefore don’t see a reason to stop.
The self-healing personality as Howard Friedman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, calls it, is expressed by people who are curious, strong, attentive, and conscientious. These characteristics are expressed in the joy of life, emotional balance, and strong social ties. These positive emotions prevent hormonal responses of stress and encourage the adoption of healthy behavior patterns, such as adherence to consistent physical activity, proper nutrition, and avoidance of cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol.
Even if you can’t unequivocally identify your personality type, you can probably identify a tendency. Ask yourself how your temperament affects your health condition - if it contributes to it, or on the contrary if it detracts from it. If you find that your health is suffering because of your personality it's time to take matters into your hands and take care of yourself!