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Why ‘healthy neurotics’ can thrive in stressful times

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201026-why-healthy-neurotics-can-thrive-in-stressful-times

bbc.com

Why ‘healthy neurotics’ can thrive in stressful times
Anxiety can be damaging, but harnessing your neuroticism could bring benefits, including some unexpected advantages in the current climate.

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Neurotic In A Good Way

Neurotic In A Good Way

Various new studies outline the benefits of being borderline neurotic, where the worry is coupled with motivation to be disciplined and organized, and taking extra self-care.

Neurotic people have anxiety issues, Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) and take too much stress. While they tend to be amusing characters in a Sitcom (think Monica from Friends), the personality trait of constant stress and worry in a neurotic person would result in health issues.

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Inflammation in our bodies

Inflammation in a natural process in our body’s defence mechanism and helps repair tissues and kill bacteria.

Smoking, drinking, inactivity and overeating can cause long-term (chronic) inflammation in the body, which results in tissue damage, leading to many lifestyle diseases like diabetes and even cancer.

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Positive Neuroticism: Inflamed Feelings

A study shows that healthy neurotics who are also disciplined and organized have reduced levels of inflammation.

They also tend to stick to regimes and plans for improving their health, like doing regular exercise and not indulging in drinking or smoking often.

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Neurotics In A Crisis

  • The bumper crop of stress and anxiety in 2020 seems to be handled well by many neurotic personalities according to new research.
  • As many people felt powerless and confused during the lockdown months, people with neurotic behaviour were controlled, vigilant, and coped up better than the laid back personalities.
  • Though there is no evidence on (healthy) neurotics living longer lives, those who are disciplined and organized do benefit from their healthy habits.

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Job insecurity

Job insecurity

The psychological effect of job insecurity can last a lifetime.

Studies have shown a causal relationship between unemployment and mental health. However, the effect of job ...

Personality is not enduring

Personality is not constant but changes over time. For example, self-confidence, warmth, self-control, and emotional stability tend to increase with age.

Earlier studies suggest more autonomy at work can increase a person's ability to cope with new situations, while a demanding and stressful job can make someone more neurotic.

Effects of chronic job insecurity

  • Reduced emotional stability. Chronic job insecurity can cause us to become anxious, tense, irritable, and depressed.
  • Reduced agreeableness. Agreeable people are naturally focused on sympathy, co-operation, and helping others. Chronic job insecurity shifts our focus to be more on ourselves instead of on others and can affect our standing as a positive and likable person.
  • Reduced conscientiousness. When we're always worried about our jobs, we are likely to become less motivated to put in an effort.

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Our personalities can change

Our personalities can change

Many of us think our personality is fixed and unchangeable.

But according to a recent study, while our early personalities may provide a baseline, they are pliable as we age

Why personality changes matter

Thinking of personality as fixed could leave us feeling like we can never grow or dismiss people with certain qualities, believing that change isn't possible. However, we don't simply change our personalities in random ways. The relationship among all of our personality traits seems to be more consistent.

If someone was really conscientious but slightly disagreeable, they might keep that personality profile as they age, even if their other traits changed a bit.

Our personalities are a mix

Personality seems to change cumulative over our lifespan and likely happens in response to our life experiences. Therefore our personalities are a mix of stable and unstable.

  • Parents and teachers should keep that in mind when they try to influence a child's personality.
  • Even the elderly, whom we might expect to be more set in their ways, can change.
  • Partners would be better served by learning to value what remains constant in someone's personality while embracing personality shifts as they happen.

The Big Five

It represents the 5 personality traits psychologists use today:
  • Openness to experiences
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness

Openness to Experience

It describes people who enjoy the arts and new experiences. Possible facets:

  • Fantasy: they have a vivid imagination
  • Aesthetics: they believe in the importance of art
  • Feelings: They experience emotions intensely
  • Actions: They prefer variety to routine
  • Ideas: they like complex problems
  • Values: they tend to vote for liberals.

Conscientiousness

People that score high on this are organized, methodical and tend to keep going and going. Possible facets:

  • Competence: they complete tasks successfully
  • Order: they like order
  • Dutifulness: the follow the rules
  • Achievement-striving: they work hard
  • Self-discipline: they get chores done right away
  • Deliberation: they avoid mistakes.