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Part of the benefit of developing your mental strength is that it improves your happiness and well-being, and research from around the world consistently reaffirms this. In this latest study led by Jessie Sun of the Department of Psychology at the University of California, and reported on Psyblog, being positive and persistent are the two personality traits linked to achieving greater well-being.

Perhaps, and not surprisingly, positive people tend to have more fun in life and experience fewer negative emotions. Being persistent is related to more positive growth, self-acceptance and greater achievement in life. However, these were not the only personality factors linked to wellbeing.

People who are industrious, compassionate and intellectually curious are also happier, but in different ways. Industrious people, for example, work harder towards long-term goals and are very achievement-oriented. Compassionate people tend to feel more positive emotions and have better relationships with others. The intellectually curious are open to new ideas and they enjoy thinking deeply and benefit from greater personal growth.

The conclusions come from a survey of 706 US adults, who were asked about their personality and different aspects of their wellbeing. The study demonstrates that there are different paths to happiness. Positive emotions are good, but so is feeling satisfied with your life, being independent, reaching life goals and experiencing personal growth.

Personality psychologists typically identify high extraverts who are low in neuroticism as the happiest people, as the study’s authors explain:

“The large literature describing the associations between personality traits and well-being suggests that extraversion (the tendency to be bold, talkative, enthusiastic, and sociable) and neuroticism (the tendency to be emotionally unstable and prone to negative emotions) are especially strong predictors of well-being. But is wellbeing only accessible to the extraverted and non-neurotic?”

No, they argue, being a non-neurotic extrovert is not the only way to be happy. If you look more closely at personality, it turns out there are multiple paths to happiness.

The authors write:

“…the personality well-being relation varies appreciably across personality aspects and distinct dimensions of well-being. Not all aspects of extraversion and neuroticism are equally predictive, and aspects of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness/intellect also have idiosyncratic, meaningful associations with distinct forms of positive functioning.”

So in summary, there are many ways to achieve happiness and greater wellbeing but those people who can consistently demonstrate positive thoughts and behaviours across a wide spectrum will more likely achieve this.

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