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How Personality Can Surprisingly Affect Your Health

How Personality Can Surprisingly Affect Your Health

Personality is what defines us as individuals. Subsequently, it affects our paths through life and choices along the way. From professions and to partners, your personality type will have always played a significant role.

Many believe personality is nothing more than basic characteristics and features that differentiate us from others. But surprisingly, scientific studies have linked personality types with considerable health risks.

Studies organized by joint efforts between the University of Nottingham and the University of California suggest that personality types can shape our immune systems, as a deciding factor for diseases we are more prone to. Participants in these health studies were grouped and identified by a variety of common personalities. They discovered certain personality types were more likely to develop diseases, whereas others fought off the same viruses and infections more easily.

Using findings from these studies, it’s possible to curb harmful habits and live a much healthier life! There’s no need to try and change your personality, just take note of the associated risks and follow these specific health tips to mitigate them.

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4 Common Personality Types With Risks and Tips

1. The Extrovert

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    If you are an extrovert, you love to express yourself in a straightforward manner. You’re likely to be outgoing, social and energized by being around others.

    It’s good news health-wise, as studies found that extroverts have stronger immune systems! The number of genes in the white blood cell that trigger inflammation were found to be 17 percent more active compared to any other personality types. These genes that trigger inflammation will have a great effect on your long-term health.

    Associated Risks:

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    • Higher blood pressure
    • Increased risk of developing cancers

    Health Tips:

    • Limit your late nights out, ensure you’re getting enough rest overall
    • Restrict junk food and sugar intake as much as possible
    • Increase intake of vitamins and minerals by eating plenty of vegetables (especially leafy greens)
    • Boost your intake of antioxidants, try drinking matcha green tea daily

    2. The Agreeable

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      If you find yourself nodding along to avoid conflicts or are easily persuaded, you probably have an agreeable personality type by nature.

      However, agreeable personalities should also heed their doctor’s recommendations since they are more likely to suffer from health issues and short-term diseases. Since you are a pro at pleasing people, you are more likely to accompany friends and relatives as they indulge (and overindulge) in their own vices.

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      Associated Risks:

      • Increased stress, often caused by agreeing to requests you shouldn’t have
      • More likely to become overweight, possibly from giving into the over-generous nature of others
      • Increased risk of developing Diabetes

      Health Tips:

      • Learn to say no when you need to take care of yourself
      • Dedicate time to working on yourself only
      • Release stress by taking the time to relax your mind and body. Try a weekly warm soak in the bath with Epsom salts.

      3. The Worrier

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        Contrary to what you may be thinking now, worriers are not at as much risk of health issues as you may think. There are two broad categories of worriers; ones who are obsessively worried and others who are worried in a healthy way. Thankfully, most of us are on the healthy side!

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        Associated Risks:

        • More likely to develop mental health issues and diseases such as depression due to excessive worry
        • Increased stress from habitual worrying can lead to overeating, drinking or other unhealthy habits

        Health Tips:

        • Make sure you periodically calm and quieten down your mind. Try practicing Yoga on a daily basis.
        • Catch any bad habits and kick them before they take hold
        • If you start to feel down, remember to concentrate on the positive things in life

        4. The Conscientious

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          Conscientious people are generally more focused on life and always work hard to achieve their aim. If you are sensible and always try to look at things optimistically, it’s more likely that you will take good care of your health. However, conscientious personality types are often over workers and neglect their own health.

          Associated Risks:

          • More prone to chronic diseases and digestion related problems
          • Less likely to live a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise
          • Increased stress placed upon self to achieve

          Health Tips:

          • Make your health a priority or a goal to keep you focused
          • Eat foods such as fish, seeds, nuts and green vegetables to maintain a healthy diet
          • Give as much importance to rest time, as to productive time
          • Try meditating for a few minutes daily to remove work related stress

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

          Posture

          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

          Facial Expressions

          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

          2. Relax Your Face

          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

          3. Smile More

          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

          4. Hand Gestures

          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

          5. Enhance Your Handshake

          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

          Final Takeaways

          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

          Reference

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