SUNDAY TIMES - If you're happy & you know it‚ these are probably your 5 secrets
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Sunday Times Lifestyle By Dave Chambers, 2017-02-02 10:14:40.0

If you're happy & you know it‚ these are probably your 5 secrets

If you score high in any of these five personality aspects‚ you are (probably) more likely to have high well-being across multiple aspects of your life.
Image: iStock

Ask Google to reveal the secrets of happiness and 21 million suggestions pop up. Ask Australian and US psychologists who have tackled the question in a research project and they’ll give you far fewer.

After questioning 706 people‚ they found just five different personality traits that resulted in high well-being.

“If you score high in any of these five personality aspects‚ you are (probably) more likely to have high well-being across multiple aspects of your life‚” said study co-author Scott Barry Kaufman.

The five are:

1) Enthusiasm: Because enthusiastic people tend to be fun‚ friendly‚ sociable and emotionally expressive‚ the research found that enthusiasm led to life satisfaction‚ positive emotions‚ fewer negative emotions‚ personal growth‚ positive relations‚ self-acceptance‚ purpose in life‚ engagement‚ positive relationships‚ meaning and achievement.

2) Low withdrawal: This means going easy on yourself. People with high withdrawal are easily embarrassed‚ overwhelmed and discouraged‚ as well as being highly self-conscious and prone to anxiety and depression. Those with low withdrawal have greater autonomy‚ “environmental mastery” and experience more personal growth.

3) Industriousness: “People who are industrious are achievement-oriented‚ self-disciplined‚ efficient‚ purposeful and competent‚” said Kaufman. “Industriousness is strongly correlated with ‘grit’ — passion and perseverance for long-term goals.”

4) Compassion: If you care about the well-being of other people‚ you’re more likely to improve your own.

5) Intellectual curiosity: People who reflect on their experiences‚ read difficult books and are open to new ideas also displayed more mastery of their environment‚ personal growth‚ self-acceptance‚ purpose and accomplishment.

The researchers also identified three traits that have no bearing on happiness: politeness‚ orderliness and volatility.

Reassuringly for those who lack these five personality aspects‚ Kaufman said other studies were piling up evidence that it’s possible to change your personality.- TMG Digital/TimesLIVE