How Your Personality Affects Your Health

Whether you're an aggressive Type A, a passive Type B, or a repressed Type C, the way you act could have real health ramifications

If you regularly yell and shout when angry, chances are you’re a Type A personality

See how your temperament could be taxing your physical well-being

In 1959, a pair of researchers theorized that most people fall into one of two personality types (the stressed, overachieving Type A, or the easy-going, healthier Type B), and that those with a Type A personality could be at greater risk of heart disease.

Later, medical theorists expanded it to include an emotionally repressed, anxious Type C personality. As prominent as the ABC classification is, current research has not proved any link between personality characteristics and the risk of specific diseases.

However, your day-to-day behaviours do affect your well-being and chance of illness. Recognizing your emotional patterns within these classic personality types can help you to pinpoint and counteract your worst health habits.

The Different Types of Personalities

Type A Characteristics: Impatient, perfectionist, competitive, quick to anger; also hard-working, ambitious, intrepid. Behaviours to watch for: Irregular sleep habits, skipping meals, alienation from friends and family, lack of recreational time.

Find balance: Schedule time for good health habits (including meal breaks, vacation weeks, exercise hours and short, daily “do-nothing” breaks); practise mental forgiveness techniques to let go of irritation toward others.

Type B Characteristics: Lax, occasionally unreliable, less motivated; also open-minded, relaxed, friendly, flexible. Behaviours to watch for: Brushing off symptoms of illness; not seeing a doctor for regular check-ups.

Find balance: Keep up with medical appointments (including eye exams and dental visits) whether you feel you need them or not.

Type C Characteristics: Introspective, unassertive, pessimistic, guarded; also astute, conscientious, thoughtful, kind. Behaviours to watch for: Neglecting your own health while taking care of others, holding on to resentment, excessive worry, self-medicating through smoking and other harmful substances.

Find balance: Practise visualization techniques to release anxiety, set aside personal time for self-care; use exercise and meditation to cope with negative emotion.