Enhancing Your Personal Attributes to Live a Better Life
By Elisa Furlan
reviewed by amadou barrow
Being in a good state of mental health means having a sense of self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, and consciousness about your own emotional and intellectual potential.
Finding a way to cope with your emotions is key to achieving good mental health. However, finding balance can be challenging. Studies have investigated the correlation between personality traits and coping styles, highlighting the link between adaptive personality traits and active coping techniques – meaning the ability to face problems efficiently. On the other hand, maladaptive personality traits, also known as neuroticism, are linked to the avoidance of coping mechanisms, and the tendency to avoid actively coping with problems and stressful situations. In particular, a 2015 study listed the positive personality traits associated with active coping mechanisms.
- Extraversion: This personality trait is characterized by outgoingness, high energy, and talkativeness. Since extroverted people “recharge” when in contact with other people, this personality trait can help look for social support when in need or have a problem-focused coping approach.
- Conscientiousness: It’s a personality trait associated with the tendency to be responsible, organized, and controlled. Conscientious people are very good at controlling their impulses, planning efficiently, and accepting their responsibilities.
- Agreeableness: Very agreeable people tend to be more trusting, friendly, and affectionate. Therefore, they’re more likely to seek social support, plan, and find active coping strategies.
On the other hand, people with neuroticism find it very difficult to cope efficiently: they tend to be susceptible to psychological helplessness, have irrational thoughts, and act upon their impulses.
There are ways in which you can improve your health and support positive mental health. Psychological, social, and behavioral factors play a key role in this and facilitate resilience.
Resilience is one’s ability to spring back during difficult circumstances. It can help you balance your life, giving you the strength to bounce back from adversity. Studies have investigated the correlation between resilience and mental health: not only is mental health associated with increased resilience, but it also works the other way around. A 4-year study highlighted that, after one year, resilience was a predicting factor for one’s mental health state; however, after another year, it was the mental health status that was a predicting factor for the level of resilience reached. Basically, they affect each other. This study is particularly important because it suggests applying these results in college to improve students’ ability to cope with stressful situations positively. Students could be offered preventive intervention plans — services to improve stress management and anxiety levels, and strengthen screening for depressive symptoms — to increase their autonomy, self-acceptance, environmental mastery, positive relations, and personal growth. Moreover, it could reduce the risk of a mental health disorder developing.
Being able to develop a resilient approach is therefore imperative for good mental health. However, resilient people can still face difficult situations because they’re part of everyday life.
Can you train resilience?
According to the American Psychological Association, there are ways in which you can train resilience to be prepared when in distress.
- Connections: It’s common for people who are going through difficult situations to think they’re alone in the world. Connecting with people, especially empathetic and understanding ones, is a way to remind yourself that you’re not alone. Some people prefer to connect with individuals and others who prefer to connect with groups, such as civic groups, faith-based communities, and local organizations. Either way, it can be a great way to help you build a positive response to life’s obstacles and distress.
- Take care of your wellness: Your body and your mind are your best friends. Cherishing them means accepting your emotions, connecting with other people, and avoiding the use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances to reduce pain. Practicing mindful journaling, yoga, and other spiritual practices can be great first steps on the path towards hope and balance.
- Find purpose: Finding a sense of purpose and self-worth can kick off an empowering approach to life. It can help you grow in resilience and allow you to be proactive and tackle your problems one step at a time. Breaking big problems into tiny, manageable pieces can be beneficial for your mental health and make you feel accomplished.
- Embrace healthy thoughts: Life is hard, there’s no doubt about it. Everyday, we have to face challenges and difficulties that can break us. However, a positive approach to these trials can turn your whole life upside down. Keeping things in perspective can help you manage your feelings towards painful events, as well as helping you along the path to self-recovery. The things that happened to us are part of what we are: we can’t change them, but we can modify the way we face them. Learn from your past, accept that those things happened, and take your first steps towards peace and balance by keeping an optimistic outlook and focusing on the things you can change.
I am a positive and enthusiastic writer with an enormous passion for books. I am mostly interested in the fields of equal rights, global environment, and justice. I believe in the power of words: everything we know, we know because we read about it, heard it on the news, or someone told us – it is all connected to words. Contributing to change this world – the one and only one we will ever know – is a privilege as well as a duty: everyone can write something on the internet, especially these days; not everyone, though, can communicate effectively. It is my goal to help this world change, word by word.
My areas of expertise center around climate change and global health; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH); environmental and occupational health; health education and promotion; and health risk communications. I have experience as a lecturer at both university level in the area of health psychology, health education & promotion, water supply & sanitation, biostatistics, epidemiology and research methodology. I have published several scientific manuscripts in various reputable journals on maternal & child health morbidities and mortalities in LMIC settings. I am a passionate digital health enthusiast with a special focus on holistic wellbeing at all levels.
Afshar, H., Roohafza, H. R., Keshteli, A. H., Mazaheri, M., Feizi, A., & Adibi, P. (2015). The association of personality traits and coping styles according to stress level. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 20(4), 353–358. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4468450/
American Psychological Association. (2012). Building Your Resilience. Https://Www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience
Srivastava, K. (2011). Positive mental health and its relationship with resilience. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 20(2), 75. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-6748.102469
Wu, Y., Sang, Z., Zhang, X.-C., & Margraf, J. (2020). The Relationship Between Resilience and Mental Health in Chinese College Students: A Longitudinal Cross-Lagged Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00108