Your personality does more than just attract or repel people from your life; it has a direct impact on your health. How you behave impacts the decisions you make for diet and exercise as well as how your body responds to the stresses of life, and experts believe personality can be an accurate predictor of future well-being.
Think you’re in the clear when it comes to how your personality influences your wellness? Think again!
“We take our personality with us wherever we go…to work, school, in our relationships, on the golf course, etc. In fact our personalities are reflected in everything we do. They are reflected in the TV shows we like to watch, what foods we eat, how much we drink, our hobbies, political affiliations, etc,” Dr. Rick Wirtz explained to Health Central. “So it would only make sense that our personality would be reflected in how we manage our health and the way we react to illness.”
Experts indicate personality can influence health in the following ways
- Being impulsive: Individuals who are impulsive are more likely to make poor food choices and therefore put themselves at risk for the health issues related to obesity.
- Being hostile: Hostility can have a huge negative impact on health. According to Redford Williams, head of behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center and author of Anger Kills, hostile people eat and smoke more and exercise less than other personality types and also more likely to be overweight in middle age and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Being reliable: Individuals who place importance on being reliable tend to be more successful when it comes to diet and weight loss because they are considered conscientious, according to Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas.
- Being relaxed: Being relaxed is one of the best things you can do for your well-being. Individuals who stress less have stronger immune systems and are less likely to develop heart disease.
- If you’re prone to mood swings: Mood swings can spell disaster for an individual’s waistline. Mood swings can lead to binge eating or dangerous fasting, causing extreme weight fluctuations.
- If you’re outgoing: Individuals who like to be social can see both positive and negative health consequences. Being social can lead to social health-killers like drinking and overeating, but it can also lead to improved coping skills, healthy behavior, decreased stress, prevention of depression, and adherence to medical regimens
- If you’re eager to please: Individuals who are pleasers tend to also be very passive about their health. This personality trait can cause someone to delay medical treatment or to avoid it all together. Pleasers will also sacrifice their own health if they think it will benefit someone else close to them.
- Being stressed: Individuals who stress easily bear the brunt of the negative health consequences related to personality. Not only does stress weaken the immune system, it can increase the risk for heart disease by three fold. Stressed individuals can also be susceptible to depression and other mental health issues.
- If you’re optimistic: Being optimistic is a double-edged sword. While it has been proven to be great for overall mental and physical health, individuals who are optimistic tend to be more likely to take dangerous health risks–like smoking–because they believe they can’t be affected by the negative consequences.
“If you ever watched the cartoon version of Winnie the Pooh with your children, grandchildren, or secretly on your own, you are familiar with the character Eeyore,” stated Wirtz. ” Do you think Eeyore is a guy who watches what he eats, takes his vitamins, or gets a check up once a year? If you said, “probably not” you were right. Eeyore would probably say “Why bother. I’d go to all that trouble and then get hit by a car.” If we take that a step further and have Eeyore diagnosed with a serious disease how do you think he might handle that? My guess would be that he wouldn’t be very conscientious about taking medication prescribed by his physician, that he might not always show up for treatment or rehab, and would not expect to survive.”