Will changing your personality make you happier?

  There should be an optimal balance between accepting yourself and changing yourself, and changing your personality can help you express your values ​​in some way, advance your life goals, and possibly increase your well-being. But the most beneficial change doesn’t stop there. It also allows you to have a deeper sense of self-identity and a more authentic view of your change.
   Psychologists believe that there is a sweet spot between accepting who you are and trying to be who you want to be.
   Statistics show that Americans spend billions of dollars each year on books and lectures that claim to help people change their personality. These books are built on the assumption that personality can be changed over time, and that changing personality is a good thing and will make you a better, healthier, happier person. But does changing your personality really make you happier?
   Recently, researchers in Australia conducted a series of studies to see if changes in personality were related to life satisfaction. The survey annually assesses the personality, life satisfaction, positive and negative impacts of a representative sample of the Australian population.
   The researchers surveyed 11,104 Australians aged 18 to 79 over a four-year period and found that extraversion, conscientiousness and friendliness were all positively associated with life satisfaction, while increased neuroticism was associated with life satisfaction. negative correlation. Another study of more than 8000 Australians over the same period found that changes in personality were as frequent as changes in socioeconomic factors such as income, employment and marital status. Taken together, these two items suggest that personality changes are associated with changes in life satisfaction, and that personality changes are even better predictors of life satisfaction than many external variables.
   Internal changes do matter, and the role these changes play in determining a person’s well-being may be underestimated. In fact, internal changes may even directly affect a person’s financial gain. For example, the researchers calculated that a small reduction in neuroticism could equate to $314,000 in income. “The financial gain from an improvement in neuroticism is equivalent to a full standard deviation increase in life satisfaction,” the researchers said. Considering that the average American household earns about $88,000 a year, a little less anxiety might give you Make a qualitative leap in the economy.
   Just as personality changes can affect people’s happiness index, changes in happiness can also have a big impact on a person’s personality. For example, persistently being in a negative environment (such as an abusive relationship) may cause a person to be more anxious or cautious. And those environments that contribute to well-being (such as a good, well-paying job) may encourage people to maintain their current behavior, or even make them more responsible and easy-going.
   In another study, which looked at data from 2005 to 2009, psychologist Christopher Soto surveyed 16,367 Australians aged 15 to 93. He found that changes in personality predicted subsequent changes in well-being, and changes in well-being also predicted subsequent changes in personality.
   Those who were more outgoing, agreeable, conscientious and emotionally stable at the start of the study had a progressive increase in well-being over time, exhibiting more positive emotions and less negative emotions. The opposite is also true: people who are initially happier tend to be more agreeable, responsible, and emotionally stable over time.
   These findings suggest that if we are to fully understand the relationship between personality and well-being, we must take their interactions into account. In fact, these interactions build up over time, creating towers of sand. As Soto shows, assuming that two people have only a slight difference in a character trait at the age of 20, the difference in that characteristic at the age of 60 can be very different from the initial nuance.
   Still, Soto found that when comparing two two-way causal relationships, personality did have a greater effect on well-being than well-being. This again illustrates the outsized influence of other factors, such as thinking, emotional and behavioral patterns, on well-being.
   Of course, changing your personality can also be a double-edged sword, not as straightforward as the one mentioned earlier. On the one hand, changing our personality can bring out the best in a person. Overall, research shows that people who are more positive, confident, hard-working, calm, kind, and creative have behaviors that help boost their well-being. But it also involves the question of how much personality changes, and too drastic a personality change can feel unreal and unstable.
   In a 2008 study, researcher Jason Riis and his colleagues used drug advertisements to assess people’s willingness to actively take drugs designed to enhance social, emotional and cognitive abilities. The researchers had participants read two advertisements for drugs, one that claimed to help participants enhance themselves and the other that claimed to allow participants to be their true selves.
   The results showed that people were reluctant to change traits that were important to self-identity (such as social comfort) compared to those that were less important to self-identity (such as ability to focus) because they feared that doing so would change the “real” Own”. People will only be interested in these drugs if the ads emphasize that they will be “enablers of the true self.”
   For many people, finding a balance between staying authentic and growing personally seems important to happiness. The “Goldilocks Hypothesis” proposes that modest improvement in personality is the most beneficial to people’s happiness, rather than too much or too little improvement. Emory University psychologists Chris Martin and Corey Keyes analyzed data from 1,725 ​​Americans and found that there was indeed a “no-no-no-no” ideal level of improvement in personality improvements in social interaction, motivation, and conscientiousness. Only modest character improvements can maximize happiness.
   At the same time, too little personality change can make a person rigid and rigid in their pursuit of happiness. Psychologists Adriana Miu and David Yeager found that telling teens about the flexibility and fluidity of their personality and helping them see their personality through a developmental lens reduced their depressive symptoms by nearly 40 percent over a nine-month period. %. In contrast, another group of teens who were taught that people’s personalities are innate and cannot be changed showed more symptoms of depression.
   It’s okay to accept and love who you are now, but you should also know that you can be better. Ideally, people should examine their character by understanding their recurring patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, and work to improve the aspects of their character that hinder their happiness. But at the same time, people should not focus too much on their own flaws and always think about changing themselves completely.
   As psychologist Brian Little puts it: “Don’t get too hung up on the scores you get on your Big Five personality test. The real you is more complicated than a number or five.” He believes people should focus on developing their best Deep goals, values, and personal preferences. Research has found that it is these goals and ideas that give our lives the most meaning, form a core part of our identity, and free us from our lower self-perceptions.
   Changing your personality can go some way to helping you express your values, advance your life goals, and possibly increase your well-being as well. But the most beneficial change doesn’t stop there. It also allows you to have a deeper sense of self-identity and a more authentic view of your change.

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