Can Personality Affect Your Health?

Your personality can influence many aspects of your life. It indicates how you relate to other people, handle different situations, and even what emotional state you tend to find yourself in.

In some cases, it may also be a reflection of the way your brain functions. Different personality types have been found to be associated with specific brain structures and patterns of activity, as well as various risks for developing certain conditions.

The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five personality traits are a framework for understanding personality. It’s not the only way to model personality, but it is one of the most widely used.

The Big Five traits are:

  • Openness – Are you open to new experiences and ideas, or do you prefer to stick with the familiar?
  • Conscientiousness – Do you tend to be impulsive, or do you plan and think things through before acting?
  • Extraversion – Do you enjoy being around people and get energy from social interactions, or do you prefer to spend time alone and find large groups of people draining?
  • Agreeableness – Do you generally get along well with others, or do you often find yourself in conflict with people?
  • Neuroticism – Do you tend to be calm, even-tempered, and emotionally stable, or do you experience anxiety, stress, and negative emotions?

All of us fall somewhere on the spectrum for each of these traits. They give us a pretty good idea of a person’s unique personality.

Personality and Health Behaviors

People who are higher in neuroticism tend to be more anxious and stressed, leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drug use or overeating.

People who are higher in conscientiousness, on the other hand, may take fewer risks and be more proactive about their health. They’re more likely to eat healthy, exercise, and get regular check-ups.

Your personality can also affect your relationships, which can affect your health. People who are higher in agreeableness and extraversion may have an easier time forming and maintaining social relationships. These relationships can provide support, love, and positive role models, all of which are important for good health.

Personality affects what choices you make and what behaviors you engage in. These choices and behaviors can significantly impact your health and have even been linked to different potentials for lifespan and longevity.

You Can Change

If you tend to be neurotic, introverted, or impulsive, that doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of poor health.

Just because personality is linked to certain health behaviors, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. Personality is just one of many factors that can influence health, and your personality can evolve over time.

If you’re someone who tends to be impulsive, you can learn to take a step back and think through your choices before making them.

If you’re shy or introverted, you can still form healthy relationships. It may just take a little more effort.

You always have the opportunity to make healthy decisions and take steps to improve your health, no matter what your personality is like.