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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    Are People With Big Five Traits Happier?

    Personality and life satisfaction go hand in hand; it has been long established that having a positive outlook on life can make life’s challenges much easier to deal with. One’s personality affects life satisfaction in many ways and often those with “Big Five” traits – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience – are deemed to have a higher degree of life satisfaction and happiness.

    We all hold onto certain characteristics that are specific to our personality type. An extravert may enjoy going out and partying more often than an introvert, as an introvert may find societal interaction exhausting. A person with higher emotional stability is more resilient to external influences, able to navigate through stressors more easily and releasing the associated emotions to arise, passing through them and finding a resolution. Agreeable people have a higher capacity for kindness, acceptance and humility, a trait that can lead to the building of strong relationships and greater understanding of those around them and, therefore, higher levels of life satisfaction. Openness fosters exploration, the attempting of new things and the curiosity to reach outside of one's comfort subzone. conscientiousness encourages hard work and discipline, enabling great achievement and personal growth.

    When these traits are worked together in harmony it creates a powerful tool box to navigate through life with a higher degree of efficiency, enabling the individual to reach further and achieve faster in comparison to someone without such traits. But who really derives greater benefits from including such Big Five traits? The answer, it turns out, are those whose employ them.

    A recent study conducted by Flannelly et al. demonstrated that individuals with higher scores on the Big Five item had, on average, a greater sense of purpose, life satisfaction and self-fulfilment. These characteristics are known to foster happiness and when implemented, evoke feelings of content, security and hope. It was also revealed that those with higher scores experienced more meaningful relationships, attributed to a larger understanding of self, increased empathy and greater emotional resilience. This further complemented their overall levels of life satisfaction, contributing to the findings of their surveyed cohort.

    The results from this study, support the fact that having greater understanding of the Big Five model reveals that those with higher levels of each trait had significantly greater amounts of life satisfaction, which in turn lead to greater levels of happiness.

    The findings of this study illustrate the importance of learning and comprehending the potential of the Big Five personality traits and how they can be used to create a positive foundation to live one's life. Those who understand and implement such characteristics, are likely to lead a happier, more fulfilling life. The knowledge of such positive traits can provide one with the courage to challenge societal boundaries and create opportunities that foster growth, whilst yielding high levels of life satisfaction and happiness.

    Moreover, we are, in essence, subject to our personalities and it is important to find out the best methods to enhance these characteristics, in order to manage and direct them most fittingly and effectively for each individual. Of course, critical adaptation about personality and its impacts on life satisfaction, must incorporate a mindfulness of current social events, economic climate and other prevailing influences. To conclude, although it is clear that the Big-Five have certain outcomes in terms of life satisfaction and happiness, research must continue to uncover further implications of the personality factors on life satisfaction and apply them to the modern-day society.

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