What Your Personality Type Reveals About Your Health

Your personality can have an affect on your health. See what it means for your future!

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Are you neurotic, impulsive or easygoing? New research asserts that personality traits like these can be linked to medical problems. According to this new science, personality can increase your likelihood of specific health conditions like ulcers, viral infections and even cardiovascular disease. Knowing your risk factors can help you take preventative steps to stay healthy and happy.

From This Episode:

Are You Normal or Nuts?

The first step is identifying your personality type. Although you may have only heard of Types A and B, science now recognizes four distinct personalities. While most of us fit into one predominant personality style, we may exhibit traits or behaviors from other types as well. This overlap creates your unique constellation of traits, a combination that has specific significance for your health.

Take this quiz to determine your personality type, learn the conditions associated with it, and discover how to combat these risks. Get the printable version of this quiz here.

Rate the following statements from 1 to 5:

1 = Strongly disagree
3 = Neutral
5 = Strongly agree

Personality Type #1

  • I typically eat meals very quickly.
  • My kitchen or desk is extremely organized.
  • I get very impatient and sometimes angry in traffic.

Score Key:
1 = Strongly disagree
3 = Neutral
5 = Strongly agree

If the majority of your answers are 4s and 5s, you fall into Personality Type 1.

This personality type, also known as the classic Type A personality, is impatient, competitive and ambitious. They’re often tightly wound workaholics. Usually aggressive if they don’t get their way, most CEOs and executives are Type A. Organized and compulsive, Type A personalities act quickly and make impulsive, snap decisions.

Health Implications
The health risks for this personality type are associated with their impulsivity. A lot of the stress associated with being impulsive can cause increased acid production, leaving this personality type at higher risk for gastric ulcers. The rash decision-making is also connected to poor food choices. Consequently, this personality type is likely to have higher BMIs. Additionally, they are neurotic, which researchers believe makes them less effective at coping with stress, resulting in chronically challenged immune systems. Accordingly, they are prone to asthma and headaches.

The Good News
Despite these risks, this personality type also reaps the benefits of being conscientious, a trait associated with a long lifespan – they are likely to pay close attention to what’s going on in their bodies.

Personality Type #2

  • I’d rather be home alone than out with a group of friends.
  • I pay my bills as soon as I get them.
  • I enjoy planning and organizing vacations and events.

Score Key:
1 = Strongly disagree
3 = Neutral
5 = Strongly agree

If you answered a majority of 1s, you tip the scale toward Personality Type #2.

Relaxed, easygoing and even-tempered, this personality type takes life one day at a time. They are essentially the opposite of Personality Type #1, or Type As; while they feel stress, they’re largely unaffected by it. They’re laidback and patient. They can be prone to procrastination because they feel no rush or impulse to do things quickly. While they seldom plan or organize anything, they’ll always attend social events!

Health Implications
People that are laidback tend not to worry about anything. When it comes to your health, this can be problematic. This personality type can underestimate health risks or overlook necessary precautions. As social beings, they are more likely to engage in behaviors like smoking and drinking without considering the risks.

The Good News
On the flip side, this personality type is also confident and tends to have strong social support systems, a trait connected with strong immune systems and lower risk for infections.

Personality Type #3

  • I am unlikely to confront someone if they upset me.
  • I’m sometimes relieved when people cancel plans.
  • I often put other people before myself.

Score Key:
1 = Strongly disagree
3 = Neutral
5 = Strongly agree

If you answered a majority of 5s, you have the tendencies of Personality Type #3.

Known as “people pleasers,” this personality type is passive and accommodating. They often put other people before themselves, avoid confrontation, and are not outwardly emotional or social. They’d likely be relieved to spend a night at home as opposed to out in a group and are not inclined to share their emotions or feelings. They often do not recognize their own needs.

Health Implications
This personality type is shy, a trait that studies connect to a weakened immune system and increased vulnerability to viral infections. Additionally, they suppress emotion, which creates anxiety and leaves them more likely to search for comfort in things like food or alcohol. Consequently, this personality may have addictive tendencies.

The Good News
Because this type is also eager to please, it makes them more likely to follow their doctors’ medical advice.

Personality Type #4

  • If I see an acquaintance at the supermarket, I’m likely to say “Hi” first.
  • I usually look forward to family events like holidays and weddings.
  • If I’m stressed, I’m likely to tell my close friends.
  • I spend the majority of my time being happy.
  • I usually think problems will somehow work themselves out.

Score Key:
1 = Strongly disagree
3 = Neutral
5 = Strongly agree

If you answered mostly 1s or 2s, you have qualities of Personality Type #4.

Personality Type #4 is likely to experience negative distress, but is unlikely to communicate those emotions in social interactions. They are characterized by indecision, irritability and poor mood. They avoid social interaction and feel a great deal of anxiety, stress, and loneliness, which they do not express.

Health Implications
Type #4 personalities are more at risk for cardiovascular problems. In fact, they are three times more likely to suffer from heart disease than other personality types. The reason lies in their stress-management skills. While Types #1, #2 and #3 are affected by emotions and anxiety, their bodies process and expel this stress. For Type #4, however, emotions, bad moods, and anxiety build up, but are never released. The chronic suppression of emotions and avoidance of social interactions throws the body’s stress response into overdrive, causing inflammation. This can contribute to everything from high blood pressure to heart disease and stroke.

Adjusting Your Personality: The Optimistic Solution

Despite the health risks inherent to your personality type, there is good news: You have the ability to change aspects of your personality. While many of your character traits are set by genetics and established in your early childhood and adolescence, with effort and cognizance, you can control your responses to certain situations.

Personality consists of three major things: thoughts, emotions and behavior. As long as you are willing to change one of these elements, the other two will follow. Managing your perceptions and gaining self-awareness is half the battle. Luckily, the most important factor in deciding your personality type is something you can control: your attitude.

Unsurprisingly, the healthiest kind of attitude is an optimistic one. One study found that, on average, optimists live about 7.5 years longer than pessimists. Research has connected those who see the glass half-empty to having an increased risk of developing neurologic disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkison’s.

Pessimism and optimism are less about how the world really is and more about how you see the world. Change your outlook in three simple steps:

Step 1: Ask, “What would I tell a friend?”
This question will allow you to separate emotion from fact and creates the distance necessary to view things objectively.

Step 2: Analyze the cost and benefit.
This process helps to sort out the options that you might not necessarily see and allows you to weigh those choices.

Step 3: Consider the alternate perspective.
This step isn’t about changing your circumstance; it aims to reframe the story. Consider an event you’re dreading. Think about what looking forward to the occasion would be like. You determine your own attitude toward any situation.