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Personality, satisfaction linked throughout adult lifespan

  • Personality

Certain traits related to satisfaction in life regardless of age, study says

Read the journal article

  • The Link Between Personality, Global, and Domain-Specific Satisfaction Across the Adult Lifespan (PDF, 537KB)

WASHINGTON — Certain personality traits are associated with satisfaction in life, and despite the changes people may experience in social roles and responsibilities over the course of their adult lives, that association is stable regardless of age, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Many studies have shown that people with certain personality profiles are more satisfied with their life than others. Yet, it had not been extensively studied whether this holds true across the lifespan. For example, extraverted—that is sociable, talkative—people might be particularly happy in young adulthood, when they typically are forming new social relationships,” said study co-author Gabriel Olaru, PhD, an assistant professor at Tilburg University. “We thus wanted to examine if some personality traits are more or less relevant to life, social and work satisfaction in specific life phases.”

The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

To determine how the relationship between personality traits and life satisfaction changes over time, researchers analyzed data collected from 2008 to 2019 by the Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) panel survey, a nationally representative survey of households in the Netherlands. Over 11 years, 9,110 Dutch participants ranging from 16 to 95 years old at the time of the first survey answered multiple questionnaires to assess their Big Five personality traits—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability/neuroticism—and their satisfaction with their social connections and their life overall. Only the 5,928 participants who were employed at the time of the survey also answered questions about their satisfaction with their work lives.

The researchers found that most of the relationships between personality traits and satisfaction remained the same across the adult lifespan, and that emotional stability was the trait most strongly associated with people’s satisfaction with their life, social connections and career.

“Our findings show that – despite differences in life challenges and social roles – personality traits are relevant for our satisfaction with life, work and social contacts across young, middle and older adulthood,” said Manon van Scheppingen, PhD, an assistant professor at Tilburg University and another co-author on the study. “The personality traits remained equally relevant across the adult lifespan, or became even more interconnected in some cases for work satisfaction.”

The researchers also found that different personality traits were related to people’s satisfaction with their social lives and careers—most notably conscientiousness for work satisfaction, and extraversion and agreeableness for social satisfaction. People who saw increases in these traits across time also reported increases in their life, social and work satisfaction.

People’s satisfaction with their work was the most affected by differences in age. As participants in the study aged, the relationship between career satisfaction and emotional stability grew moderately stronger.

Despite a weaker correlation between openness and life satisfaction overall, the researchers found that people who increased in openness also increased in life satisfaction across the 11 years measured by the LISS survey. This relationship may be explained by indirect processes, according to the researchers.

“Emotional stability likely shows a strong link with global and domain-specific satisfaction because this trait colors people’s general view of the world,” Olaru said.

“A good example of how personality interacts with the environment can be found in the work context. One of our findings was that the link between emotional stability and work satisfaction increases across age. This might be explained by the fact that emotionally stable people are less scared to quit unsatisfactory jobs and more likely to apply for jobs that are more challenging and perhaps more fulfilling and enjoyable in the long run,” van Scheppingen added.

Future studies should examine how variables that change with age, such as income, employment status, marital status and health, affect the relationship between personality traits and overall satisfaction with life, according to the researchers.

“While we did not examine what caused these changes, [the research] shows that our personalities and our happiness are not set in stone,” van Scheppingen said. “Perhaps we may even be able to influence how we change: If we try to become more organized, outgoing, friendly, this might increase life, social or work satisfaction as well.”

Article: “The Link Between Personality, Global, and Domain-Specific Satisfaction Across the Adult Lifespan,” by Gabriel Olaru, PhD, and Manon van Scheppingen, PhD, Tilburg University, Wiebke Bleidorn, PhD, University of Zurich, and Jaap Denissen, PhD, Utrecht University. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online March 20, 2023.

Make The Ultimate Green Smoothie

Published on 01/26/2020
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Make The Ultimate Green Smoothie

When you’ve gone to the gym, one of the most important things to do afterward is replenish your body. Aside from drinking enough water, it’s important to eat something rich in protein and carbs. The reason for this is eating foods full of protein and carbs right after a workout – within half an hour or so – will help increase muscle growth and also aid your body with recovering from the workout. If you’re looking for a quick and easy post-workout meal to eat, a smoothie is the perfect solution. Not only is it super simple to make, but it has all the nutrients your body needs to replenish your energy after exercising. You might be wondering which smoothie to have – there are seemingly endless options around. Well, we found the ultimate smoothie that will make a great post-workout meal. The ingredients in this recipe have all the nutrients you need to recover properly from your workout. The fruits have plenty of carbs along with vitamins and minerals, while the protein powder, obviously, has the amount you need. To top it off, the spirulina is full of antioxidants and the almonds will help you feel full for longer.

What You’ll Need

To make this delicious and nutritious smoothie, you’ll need:

  • 1 banana – fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup mango – fresh or frozen
  • A handful of fresh leafy greens – spinach or kale
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • A handful of almonds
  • 1/2 tsp spirulina (optional)
  • 1/3 cup liquid of choice (almond, soy, coconut, or regular milk, etc.)

How To Make It

This part is simple: cut up all the fruits and veggies and put everything in a blender. Then, blend it all until smooth! The trick is putting in the fresh and soft fruits first followed by the frozen fruits for it to blend more easily. Serve and enjoy!

Effective Steps for Managing Anxiety

Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath? You probably weren’t having a heart attack but an anxiety attack. If you suffer from anxiety disorders, learning to manage it is the first step to overcoming it.

Anxiety is characterized by extreme reactions to fearful situations. When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms gives way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life. This is the fight or flight syndrome.

In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not the situation itself. Getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to work late. Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks. You don’t know anyone and fear of that unknown can send you into a panic.

Everyone experiences panic or anxiety in small ways. Like the fight or flight example, it can save your life. In new situations, we get panicky but when the outcome we fear fails to materialize, the anxiety stops. For someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.

Every situation that brings anxiety is not life-threatening. More than likely it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety as a way of dealing with it. The unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control.

1. See a professional. This is always a good first step. Self-diagnosis of any type of physical or mental condition is unwise and can be dangerous. A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or other effective techniques.

2. Get a good night’s sleep. During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself. You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep, reaching the REM stage. Most people need eight hours a night which varies within an hour or two each way.

3. Exercise on a consistent basis. Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently. It helps to get more oxygen to the brain. It also increases focus which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them.

4. Meditate. Meditation is more than chanting mantras. Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing. Simple mediation such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind every day can work wonders in the fight against anxiety.

5. Manage the worry. When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backward from ten. As you count, focus on the situation. What has actually happened? Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation.

6. Don’t use alcohol. You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant. In anxious situations, you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.

7. Find some relaxing activities. Stress can rob you of your energy. On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or listening to music.

Anxiety can come into your life at any time. It’s normal. When the anxiety becomes frequent you could be at risk for more serious conditions. If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, seek professional help immediately. There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence.