Neuroticism is one of the big five personality traits. It has to do with the way people experience negative emotion in response to stress. Hence, highly neurotic individuals usually produce a stronger reaction to stress with feelings like sadness, anxiety, fear, hostility, irritability and anger.
The upside of being Neurotic
A little neuroticism can keep you on your feet.
These personality types tend to be intelligent, humorous, have more realistic (if cynical) expectations, a greater self-awareness, drive and conscientiousness, they take fewer risks, and have a strong need to provide for others.Grant H. Brenner M.D.
They also possess more emotional depth.
They have more experience handling negative emotions, which, though difficult, can also make them deeper, and facilitate empathy and understanding for other people’s struggles.Dr. Naragon-Gainey.
These individuals tend to think ahead and are more likely to be prepared for possible outcomes.
The reason they pay attention to negative emotions is that they’re informative of the environment or perceived danger.Dr. Naragon-Gainey.
The downside of Neuroticism
Because neuroticism is associated with heightened self-criticism, it can become a ‘crash and burn’ dynamic, where negative beliefs about yourself lead to ineffective social functioning, which then confirms those negative beliefs, and further re-enforces neurotic tendencies, says Dr Brenner.
You may know a colleague who is diligent at work but tends to worry about his/her performance. Then all of a sudden, he/she gets a little negative feedback from his/her boss. He/she responds by worrying more to the point that he/she becomes so consumed with self-evaluation and anxiety, making him/her lose adequate function and drive.
When this continues, neuroticism becomes extreme. This maladaptive response can cause difficulty in relationships, problems keeping jobs, and overall decreased satisfaction with life, depression and anxiety disorders.
How to be less Neurotic
1. Be mindful
Taking note of your positive and negative emotions/feelings is crucial in reducing neuroticism. Therefore, make a conscious effort to pinpoint where the stress is coming from and take necessary steps in calming your nerves.
Concentrate on your thoughts and feelings and learn techniques that will help you select and evaluate these thoughts. This selection and evaluation process will subsequently change your perceptions of things that happen around you.
Let it go! Do not allow negative thoughts and emotions to rule you.
2. Relax often
Meditation will help you eliminate negative thoughts, worries, and all other factors that can cause unhappiness.
When faced with conditions that make you anxious, tell yourself that these things are not as huge as they seem. Instead of thinking of implications and spending hours upon hours brooding and feeling helpless, look for ways to correct or amend the situation (that is if it is under your control).
Remember, do not put so much energy in regrets; learn from your errors, take a deep breath and move on.
3. Take care of yourself.
Make a conscious effort in taking care of yourself; build your self-esteem, keep fit physically and mentally.
- Avoid self-pity.
- Avoid putting up the victim mentality.
- Have a positive mental attitude.
4. Learn from it
Be conscious and learn about what triggers your neurotic behaviour. Taking note of your triggers will help you avoid them. When you successfully overcome a situation, record your experience in a journal; this will help create a learning plan in making you less neurotic.
5. Seek help
Finally, seek professional guidance!
As social beings, we often feel better when we share our feelings and worries with a trusted friend, parent or counsellor.
Heightened anxiety can affect your productivity at work, and even your life pattern. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help and guidance to prevent other adverse effects associated with neuroticism.
Remember, life is beautiful. It is a journey, a battleground with everyone having a fair share of his/her challenges; what makes the difference is perception.
For this and much more Information relating to employability skills, employment opportunities, career advancement and entrepreneurship development; Join our Telegram and WhatsApp groups, and also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.