How Does Your Personality Impact Your Health?

Could your personality kill you- or might it help you live longer? Could it give you cancer or protect you from illness? What about your mental health, do certain personalities impact mental well-being? Research has shown that personality traits impact your health in a significant way. So what are the various personality types and how does yours impact your health?

First there is the well-known Type A personality.

The so-called “workaholic.” Type A personalities are thought to be: organized, impatient, sensitive, highly status conscious, take on more than they can handle and obsessed with time management. Type A behavior is expressed in three major symptoms: hostility, time urgency and a competitive drive.

“One of the aspects of the impatient, hard-charging Type A personality that is known to increase heart disease risk is hostility. Hostile people tend to eat and smoke more and exercise less than other personality types,” says Redford Williams, head of behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center and author of Anger Kills.  “They are likelier to be overweight in middle age and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure. Williams’s past research suggests hostile people are also more likely to develop irregular heart rhythms, and to die before reaching their 50s.”

The Type B personality is often described as the exact opposite of the Type A.

Type B personalities are described as: apathetic, patient, relaxed, easy-going, having poor organizational skills and lacking a sense of urgency.

“If you’re a Type B, you roll with the punches. You’re relaxed, take life a day a time, and handle stress without cracking. That translates to a higher quality of life and lower likelihood of heart disease—less anxiety strengthens the immune system.”

Next there is the Type C personality.

The Type C person has a calm, outwardly rational, and unemotional demeanor, but also a tendency to conform to the wishes of others, a lack of assertiveness, and an inclination toward feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. These people are at heightened risk for colds, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. These are all anti-immune disorders. When an individual engages in a long-term practice of ignoring or suppressing feelings, the immune system can become compromised and confused, learning to attack the self rather than defend it.

“People-pleasers—Type C’s—are conforming, passive, and want to accommodate. That can be a good thing when it comes to patient compliance: They’re more likely to take the right medicines in the right doses at the right times, for instance—once they see a doctor, that is. Making and following through on appointments can be challenging for Type C’s, who tend to accept their fate as inevitable and fall readily into hopelessness and helplessness.”

Finally there is the Type D personality.

This person is defined as having the tendency towards negative feelings such as pessimism, worrying, irritability and social inhibition. Type D is the distressed personality.

“New research suggests having a “distressed” personality may jeopardize your health. A study published today in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes finds that those with this personality type, known as Type D, are at three times the risk for future heart problems, including peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and death, compared to more optimistic sorts.”

So how can you use your personality to your advantage? There are certain personality traits that can help you live longer. Studies show that you should try to be optimistic, easygoing and conscientious. You should express your feelings but suppress the urge to talk badly of others.

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