Your Personality May Be Predisposing You for Dementia
By Chris Brown
Your negative personality may be dooming you to future Alzheimer's disease, according to a 2021 study. Doctors have long suspected a connection between outlook and health. In the surgical world, procedures often have greater success rates and more permanent recovery for those with optimistic outlooks. Now, medical researchers are finding that one's personality type may impact their likelihood of developing future diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
The Alzheimer's Personality
In a 2021 study out of Florida State University, researchers found a link between personality type and the presence of pre-dementia signs in the brain. A distinct pathological change was seen in individuals identified as neurotic, based upon a personality questionnaire. Neurotic individuals physically showed increased tau protein deposits which are responsible for the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's. The study supports similar findings of the strong connection between our world perception and our physical health. In this case, identifying negative neurotic traits in yourself may not only improve your current life, but prevent devastating mental degradation in the future.
How Do You Know If You're Neurotic?
Neuroticism is, simply put, a long-term tendency towards anxiety and negatively viewing life events. Much of the time, an event can be perceived as either negative or positive. How one sees an event is very much a trained habit. Unfortunately, the increase in social media has injected more opportunities to feed neurotic thoughts into our lives, causing neuroticism to greatly rise in the general public. However, one's level of neuroticism is ultimately under their own control. Changing lifestyle habits, and our self-perceptions, can shape our level of negative self-obsession. Conscientiousness, the trait of being goal-driven, responsible, and organized, is the opposite end of the neurotic coin. According to the Florida State University study, conscientious people had a decreased amount of Alzheimer's-predicting tau proteins. In this way, shaping yourself into a more conscientious person can protect you from the future struggles of Alzheimer's disease.
How to Improve Your Healthy Conscientiousness
To a large degree, the positivity or negativity of your environment is based upon your state of mind. Removing defeatist self-talk in favor of a positive outlook is as simple (and difficult) as changing the way you think. Everything starts with a conscious third-party awareness of how you perceive events and the realization that your thoughts and fears cannot hurt you. The worry about a fear itself (a very neurotic thing to do) is often worse than the event to which the fears are attached. Combining this proactive thinking with lifestyle changes such as therapy, exercise, a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness (with meditation, for instance) can help pull you from your negative, neurotic state in favor of healthier, productive conscientiousness.
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