People with these characteristics are happiest

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, a nurse practitioner and behavioral health specialist at Aurora Health Care, explains what the Big 5 traits are and how to exemplify them day-to-day:

  1. Openness: Being open-minded, creative and having a broad range of interests. If you are open, you can also deal better with change.
  2. Conscientiousness: Being organized, dependable and wanting to have achievements in life. Your friends and family may also see you as a reliable person.
  3. Extraversion: Being able to see the bright side or experience positive emotions. This can also include being social with those in your life.
  4. Agreeableness: Showing kindness, being considerate and helping others in need.
  5. 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 or bake a treat, for example.

“I also think setting and accomplishing goals, no matter how big or small, can boost satisfaction,” Larson shares.

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  1. I thought the traits leading to the most happiness were chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and most importantly humility.

    • Traits you wrote down sound like solid ingredients to achieve happiness contentment;) Going with those!

  2. I am an introvert. I can be social with small groups, but I NEED alone time too. I need my time to be quiet and read. Is it really vital to be an extrovert to be happy? I find so much joy being alone in my garden or working on crossword puzzles or jigsaw puzzles. I feel like extroversion is overrated!

    • We use introvert, extrovert, and ambivert labels to describe people’s personalities. To be happy, it’s important to recognize negative thoughts and not let them control you. The moment you disallow your thoughts to drag you down the street and around the corner, happiness will enter. To achieve happiness, being present and observant of oneself is essential. One can cultivate consciousness by paying attention to thoughts and judgments. Mickey Singer’s quote goes, “The day you prioritize being aware of your thoughts over the thoughts themselves, you will find your way out.”

    • I agree with you, Lisa! I think people who are content in their own skin, no matter the traits, are happy.

  3. Does a person really need to be an extrovert to be happy? I am an introvert, and I find so much joy alone in my garden, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, working on crossword puzzles, and so on. I am capable of being social with people I know well, but boy, do I ever NEED my alone time. I would actually be UNhappy if I didn’t get my quiet alone time. Extroversion is overrated.

  4. Comparison is a thief of joy. We are all in our own seasons.

  5. hahaha! I agree with Lisa! I am a total extra-vert (yes to the ‘a’). But extroverts need downtime, alone time. Don’t let any extrovert tell you differently. We need to recharge too. And I agree you do not need to be a total extrovert to be happy. knowing how you like to be social and being social in those environments and times truly adds to being happy. Learning to meet others where they are in their journey helps you grow in yours and increase your emotional intelligence. happy journey.

  6. I do not agree that you have to be extroverted to be happy. Introversion and extroversion are simply descriptions of how people recharge their own energy. Introverts look inward with quiet and calm to recharge their energy, while extroverts increase their energy by being around other people. Neither trait makes one happier than the other, unless you are an introvert with NO downtime and no way to recover/recharge your spirit/energy. I know after a day of working and talking to people all day, I prefer to go home and be quiet. However, my husband, who is retired and talks to the cats all day, prefers to chat with me about work and my day and his day, etc. Being an extrovert, hubby doesn’t understand why I need quiet, alone time to recharge. He needs me/other people to recharge his batteries. But we are both happy 🙂

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About the Author

Anna Schapiro
Anna Schapiro

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.