A great starting place to increase our level of happiness is to develop self-awareness, and a great place to develop self-awareness is to understand our personality.

There are many different interpretations and theories of personality, along with different tools to measure personality type.

Personality is thought to be a set of generally stable and consistent traits or tendencies we possess. These are the natural behavior responses we tend to elicit in any given situation.

One theory which has shown to be universal in nature is The Big Five theory of personality.

This theory posits that there are five overarching traits that cover our attitudinal and behavioral inclinations, which includes: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

An acronym to help remember the five traits is O.C.E.A.N.S.

Openness to experience

Personality can be examined by considering where a person falls on the spectrum of these traits related to their behavior and overall tendencies.

A recent article in the journal of Social Behavior and Personality asked the important question of whether these traits relate to psychological well-being.

The article utilized Carol Ryff’s dimensions for well-being and optimal psychological functioning to explore this relationship.

These dimensions include:

  • Self-acceptance of skills, talents, and abilities
  • Personal growth or working toward our potential
  • Positive relationships with others
  • Autonomy
  • Environmental mastery
  • Finding purpose and having meaning

When we explore the big five personality traits, they can be connected to these realms of psychological well-being, and reveal that certain personality types tend to experience greater happiness.

For instance, agreeableness and conscientiousness increase the probability of positive experiences with social and achievement related situations.

People who are agreeable tend to have more success and flexibility dealing with relationships. They will be more trusting and good-natured allowing them to deepen and grow relationships more naturally.

A conscientious person will likely be more aware and prudent when dealing with others and working toward goals, leading to environmental mastery and thus enhanced psychological well-being.

Let’s explore extraversion. Someone who is extraverted may be more likely to build relationships, seek personal growth, and have more positive affect, all of which can enhance psychological well-being.

Neuroticism can have a negative effect, though neuroticism was also linked with autonomy. Some high on neuroticism may want  more control over there circumstances, though they may be distressed when this is not the case.

On the flip side, someone low in neuroticism will be composed and have greater self-control over emotions and behavior.

Someone who is high on openness to experiences may have the propensity to be interested in learning new things and take a curious approach to life, ultimately leading them to seek personal growth. They may even be more courageous.

Considering our natural personality tendencies can help us to navigate life more effectively, and to approach different situations with the awareness of how we can adapt to experience greater well-being.

How do think your general tendencies and personality traits influence your well-being?


Salami, S. O. (2011). Personality and Psychological Well-Being of Adolescents: the Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence. Social Behavior and Personality, 39 (6), 785-794.