5 personality traits that could impact health and happiness

personality impact health

Certain personality traits and behavior tendencies could affect your health and happiness as you age. In a recent study, researchers at the University College London discovered five attributes, or life skills, that create positive well-being as people grow older.

Five attributes

The study involved more than 8,000 people living in the United Kingdom, ages 50 and older. Scientists found that participants who exhibited the same five attributes were happier, healthier and managed their finances better. Here’s an overview of the five characteristics:

  1. Determined – Challenging circumstances and obstacles rarely cause people with determination to give up. Instead of retreating or avoiding a situation, they face problems head on or look for alternative ways to accomplish the same goal.

  2. Disciplined – This attribute allows people to maintain self-control and focus to achieve their goals. They get involved in decisions vs. watching from the sidelines, and can manage a variety of situations. They are calm and in control.

  3. Optimistic – People who are optimistic believe that things will get better instead of worse. They see the positive side of life vs. focusing on what’s not right. They encourage others to see the good in any situation.
  4. Conscientious – This personality trait is guided by an internal compass that directs people in knowing right from wrong, working diligently, honoring obligations and being self-disciplined and organized. They care about others and abide by the golden rule.

  5. Emotionally stable – People with this skill are strong and can take criticism and bad news without breaking down. They don’t let difficult circumstances or how others treat them impact how they feel. In short, they don’t take things personally.

Personality traits work together

Interestingly, researchers found that not one attribute is more important than the others. Instead, they work together for positive well-being. This explains why people in the study with four or all five traits were healthier and struggled less with depression and loneliness. Here’s a snapshot of the study results:

Physical attribute % of people with 2-3 traits showed symptoms % of people with 4-5 traits showed symptoms
Depression 23% 3%
Loneliness 49% 11%
Poor health 37% 6%


Irish Examiner