People with these characteristics are happiest
We all want, and deserve, to be happy. Whether it’s feeling satisfied at work or in your personal life, a study shows that people with certain personality traits, known as the Big 5, are consistently happier throughout their lives.
Kelly M. Larson, nurse practitioner and behavioral health specialist at Aurora Behavioral Health in Wauwatosa, Wis., explains what the Big 5 traits are and how to exemplify them day-to-day:
- Openness: Being open-minded, creative and having a broad range of interests. If you are open, you can also deal better with change.
- Conscientiousness: Being organized, dependable and wanting to have achievements in life. Your friends and family may also see you as a reliable person.
- Extraversion: Being able to see the bright side or experience positive emotions. This can also include being social with those in your life.
- Agreeableness: Showing kindness, being considerate and helping others in need.
- Emotional stability: You approach life’s issues in a balanced way. For example, being able to think about a situation before responding rashly.
Larson says she has seen this phenomenon in her practice in a variety of ways, which reinforces the importance of seeking out a mental health provider if needed.
“I have seen this when depression lifts and patients are able to be more social and experience positive emotions, also known as extraversion,” Larson says. “With depression, patients tend to isolate from family or friends, and this can be detrimental to mental health. When I see patients become more social and see happiness in more of life’s moments, there’s an increase in life, social, and even work satisfaction.”
A few other areas Larson mentions you should focus on are sleep and self-awareness. When people are experiencing better quality sleep, there’s an increase in emotional stability, so you can better cope with issues that may arise and keep your mood more stable.
According to Larson, those that see a provider tend to also have better insight and understanding into their mental well-being. This increases life satisfaction because you have better control of not only how you respond to stressors but can have more control over the way you may interact with others.
But what if you aren’t born with naturally high extraversion or conscientiousness?
Larson explains that people can change their traits, and things are not static.
“People can work towards happiness or satisfaction by doing hobbies they love, seeing kindness and positivity in others, and even being open to change and possibilities,” Larson says. “Through my line of work, I also see these changes with medication and therapy.”
Some other ways to boost satisfaction in your life, regardless of personality, could be something as simple as self-care, Larson says. Go for daily walks, take a nice bath, bake a treat, for example.
“I also think setting and accomplishing goals, no matter how big or small, can boost satisfaction,” Larson shares.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Learn more about sleep apnea by taking a free online quiz. Or, if you are trying to find a doctor, look here if you live in Illinois or here if you live in Wisconsin.
About the Author
Anna Schapiro is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a background in public relations and communications and studied journalism at Northwestern University. When she’s not working on internal communications for the organization, she enjoys cooking, reading and living in Chicago.