Here’s how personality traits – hostility, anxiety, anger – affect your health and immune system. Plus, men and women’s personalities have different heart health effects!
Your personality traits, such as anxiety and anger, affect your health, immune system, and heart health more than you may realize. Your personality not only affects your body, it can also speed up or slow down how quickly you recover from illness.
Does Personality Cause Cancer?
Your personality traits affect your health because your personality traits dictate how you handle stress. If you are a “nice” person who doesn’t express anger or frustration appropriately, you could damage your health. Some doctors call this the “cancer personality” because personality affects cancer cells. If you’re too nice, you may be repressing negative emotions, which affects your heart health negatively.
Heart disease or even cancer can develop from a suppressed immune system, which can be caused by not making waves and being polite at all costs. So, certain personalities are more prone to certain diseases.
How Men’s and Women’s Personalities Affect Heart Health
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that negative personality traits increase the risk of coronary heart disease. These negative personality traits include anxiety, hostility, anger, and bouts of depression. The traditional risk factors of heart disease are high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and extra weight. Each negative personality trait by itself is associated with heart disease; together the traits are the best predictor of your risk for developing poor heart health. These researchers encourage doctors to address negative personality traits in an attempt to promote long-term heart health – as well as cholesterol and immune system health.
Being aware of how your personality traits affects your health can add a few years to your life!
Interestingly – here’s a twist – this Duke study included men’s heart health only. Studies of women have found that long-term hostility does not make women more vulnerable to heart disease. Women can be equally as hostile as men, but their heart health isn’t affected. Perhaps it’s because women express feelings more openly? Hostile men are twice as likely to have poor heart health, higher cholesterol, and heavier BMI’s than men with low hostility. Women’s personalities affect their heart health differently than men’s personalities do.
How Stress Levels Affect Your Health
Both men and women who are easily stressed, moody, and nervous tend to have less protective immune systems. Your personality traits affect your health negatively if you take life too seriously – and you’ll report more symptoms of disease and compromised heart health. People who are more vulnerable to stressful situations are also more vulnerable to various illnesses; this makes it clear how important it is to deal with stress! If you don’t deal with stress effectively, your personality will affect your health negatively.
The Mind-Body Connection
Harvard University Psychologist Ellen Langer found that many exercise benefits are due to the placebo effect. She studied 84 female housekeepers from seven hotels; approximately half the women were told that their work was enough to meet the requirements for a healthy, active lifestyle while the other half weren’t told anything. After a month, the first group lost an average of two pounds, lowered their blood pressure, and were significantly healthier as indicated by their body-mass index (BMI) than the second group. Langer concluded that health is significantly affected by mind set. So, your personality affects your health negatively or positively depending on your mindset.
Expressing Your Thoughts and Emotions
Expressing your emotions and releasing toxic energy is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and dodging disease. Expressing yourself appropriately includes pinpointing feelings, communicating honestly, and being physically active to release tension. Your personality traits affect more than your heart health – your personality also dictates your energy levels and activities.