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7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You
Date: 11 January 2012 Time: 08:33 AM ET
What Type Are You?
"The idea that behavior or personality traits can influence health is one that's been around for a long time. We're just now getting a handle on to what extent they do," said Stephen Boyle of Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.
From those with a chill demeanor to the completely frazzled types, mental factors are ultimately tied to physical health. And while a highly neurotic person might deteriorate more quickly than others, not every character trait will kill you. Some might even boost lifetimes.
Lack of Meaning
"Persons with high purpose readily derive meaning from and make sense of the events of their lives, and likely engage in behaviors and activities that they deem important," said study researcher Patricia Boyle of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago.
Some other research has suggested that people with a higher sense of purpose may have different levels of stress hormones, better heart health or improved immune systems, though more research is needed to firm up any of these biological mechanisms, she said.
The opposite also holds: "The findings from our study suggested that people who no longer set and work actively toward goals or enjoy their day-to-day activities (how they spend their time) are those with greater mortality risk,"
A review of more than 20 studies and nearly 9,000 participants revealed people who are conscientious — organized, self-disciplined, as opposed to impulsive — live two to four years longer than others. Study researcher Howard S. Friedman of the University of California, Riverside suspects the boost in lifetime can be attributed partly to the fact that highly conscientious individuals are less likely to smoke or drink to excess, and live more stable and less stressful lives. The study is detailed in a 2008 issue of the journal Health Psychology
Gloom and Doom
A preliminary study of more than 180 patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease (plaque buildup in the arteries) showed participants with so-called type D, or distressed, personality, had an increased odds of dying sooner than other people. Type-D people are more likely to experience negative emotions while at the same time hold in their feelings.
The researchers, who detail their work in the August issue of the journal Archives of Surgery, suggest the personality type is linked with the body's immune system as well as stress response system
A study of nearly 700 Israeli workers found that those who experienced job burnout (when work stress becomes unmanageable) were nearly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, in which a person's body becomes resistant to the sugar-regulating hormone called insulin.
And while a job promotion might boost your income, it also stresses you out. British researchers recently found that when people get promoted, they suffer on average about 10 percent more mental strain and are less likely to find time to go to the doctor