Work, family pressures, a busy social life… when it comes to dealing with everyday situations, how well do you cope? Do you find it easy to handle stress or do you crumble at the first sign of a problem?
Learning how to take control of your emotions is an important part of being human as it can improve your life satisfaction and play a part in how other people view you too. The way in which you handle stress can have a massive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
In the 1950s, cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman developed a theory that people with certain personality traits have an increased risk of developing heart disease. Later research has suggested there is no clear link, however, and the theory that your personality can affect your health is a controversial one.
Probably the best known personality 'type', these people tend to be highly competitive, gaining enjoyment from accomplishing their goals. They are often impatient, feeling that time is not on their side. They can be quick to anger, and may come across as aggressive or bullying towards others. Entrepreneurs and business leaders tend to fall into this category and some research has concluded that people with this type of personality may be at increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Type B personalities are usually more reflective and may experience less anxiety as a result. They are usually more tolerant of people than those with a Type A personality but crave attention, being natural extroverts. Type B personalities are suited to careers such as actors, radio hosts or high-profile speakers.
By contrast, Type C personalities can find it difficult to express their emotions and may be more prone to negativity, while avoiding conflict where possible. They are usually hard workers and perfectionists, but may be more prone to stress and depression than other types. They are usually quite introverted and like to get to know and understand how things work. Type C personalities do well in job roles such as engineers, programmers or accountants.
Friedman and Rosenman estimated that people with Type A personalities were at more than double the risk of coronary heart disease as they are more likely to feel stressed.
Type B personalities may feel more insecure within themselves, while those who are Type C can find their inability to freely express their voice frustrating, leading them to feel anguished about themselves or their life situation.
Some people believe that stress is good for 'keeping them on their toes', increasing their productivity levels and getting more work done in less time. They may think it's healthy to feel this pressure, but psychological stress is strongly associated with a greater risk of heart disease, depression and even infectious diseases.
Research by Carnegie Mellon University found that the effects of stress can promote the development and progression of disease. This is because when cortisol is released in response to stress, it regulates the inflammatory response and decreases tissue sensitivity, making immune cells become insensitive. This encourages the inflammation to develop.
Interestingly, spending time socializing or hugging others has been shown to lower your chances of becoming ill during stressful times according to a recent study, so is worth considering if you want to boost your wellbeing.
Ultimately, avoiding stress and taking time out for yourself has been shown to be of one of the most important factors to consider if you want to prevent illness and stay healthy in the long term – regardless of your personality type.
Stress can play a role in the causes of multiple health related conditions such as weight gain or loss, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and many others. If you are worried about stress in your life consult your Doctor.