People high in neuroticism (very emotionally sensitive) and introverts are two personality types more likely to experience negative thoughts research finds.
In addition, being introverted is linked to spontaneously remembering more negative life events.
Together, both personality traits — neuroticism and introversion — are linked to depression and anxiety.
On the other hand, people with stable emotions who are more extraverted are at lower risk of depression and anxiety.
Neuroticism and introversion are two of the ‘big 5’ personality traits, that also include agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience.
The study included 71 people who were given personality tests and asked to recall some personal memories.
Dr Florin Dolcos, study co-author, explained:
“We’re looking at traits that are associated with the way that people process the emotional world and the way that they respond to it.
We wanted to look not only at how personality traits might influence what and how people remember, but also to examine how that impacts their (subsequent) emotional state.”
The results showed that both men and women who were more introverted tended to recall more negative memories.
Neurotic women tended to repeatedly return to the same memories also known as “rumination.”
Dr Dolcos explained:
“Depressed people recollect those negative memories and as a result they feel sad.
And as a result of feeling sad, the tendency is to have more negative memories recollected.
It’s a kind of a vicious circle.”
Neurotic men, though, recalled a higher proportion of negative memories.
Dealing with Negative Thoughts
People try are variety of strategies to rid of negative thoughts. For women and men, trying to suppress negative thoughts did not work, as they returned stronger than before.
Men who tried to think differently about their memories — what psychologists call ‘reappraisal’ — recalled more positive memories.
Ultimately, many people benefit from a different methods, sometimes a combination. Talk therapy, exercise, nutrition, EEG neurofeedback, and/or breathing techniques.
We have a long history of success-stories with administering EEG neurofeedback to those suffering from negative thoughts that could be labeled as anxiety or depression.
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