How Your Personality Affects Your Health – Part 2

What can your communication skills tell you about your health? Dr. Rick Wirtz explains.

Last week we took a peek into the depths of Eeyore’s personality and looked at how his pessimistic demeanor would affect how he takes care of himself and how he might manage a serious illness. It seemed pretty clear from our highly unscientific look at the gloomy, gray guy that he would probably not be a major spokesman for wellness approaches or be likely to follow through with his doctor’s orders.

But this is not the only way in which his personality would be likely to affect health-related matters. It would also very likely to affect his communication with others about how he was feeling and what he needed from them. So, let’s think about this for a minute.

He doesn’t really expect good things to happen and when they do he thinks they are a fluke. Do you think he’ll be a very accurate or detailed reporter to his doctor? Probably not--wouldn't  really make any difference anyway, now would it. So what do you think his doctor’s impression is? Maybe that he’s doing OK, no major troubles, maybe a little depressed?

That’s probably about right and this is where he really hurts himself because the doctor may be able to do something helpful if he knew what was going on. Eeyore’s assumptions about himself and the world really get in his way of being as healthy as he can be.

So what type of personality do you have--optimistic, pessimistic, stoic, compulsive, nurturing? Whatever it is, your health and how you manage it will be influenced by it. Start paying attention to how you react to physical symptoms.

When do you start paying attention to them and how bad do they have to get before you do something? How sick do you have to be before you call for a doctor’s appointment. and what keeps you from calling sooner? How much do you tell your doctor about how you’ve been feeling? What do you leave out of your report and why? Do you follow the Doctor’s recommendations?

The answers to these and many other questions can teach you a great deal about yourself and show you ways in which you can become a better advocate for yourself and your health.

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