An explanation on how knowing ourselves we can improve when managing emotions.
Although we do not always realize it, every day we face a multitude of real or imagined demands that can alter our health and our personal well-being.
The individual coping with these demands, that is, the way we solve problems is of great importance to maintain personal balance.
The consequences of coping styles
Various researches have analyzed the effects of the coping styles we use in adverse situations, and come to the conclusion that we face challenges more or less successfully depending on the traits that make up our personality.
For example, an emotion-centered coping style that includes distancing, self-control, seeking social support, avoidance, acceptance of responsibility, and positive revaluation, will be more beneficial than a coping that includes isolation, guilt, fear, and negative revaluation. The way we manage our emotions in these difficult situations will manifest itself in either stability or emotional instability.
The importance of self-knowledge in the face of day-to-day challenges
Knowing ourselves has been one of the great challenges posed since ancient times; For this, current science has designed sophisticated personality tests perfected with precise mathematical algorithms and of course always subject to the interpretation of an expert professional.
Currently, the instruments that can help us the most in the therapy improvement process are personality tests and anxiety scales.
To measure the personality structure, the most used model is the “ five factors ” model, using the NE0 PI-R personality inventory (Costa and McCrae, 2008). This test is one of the most prestigious instruments for the evaluation of non-pathological personality and has become one of the most used tools in various fields. It consists of 240 questions that are answered on a scale of five response options and allows the evaluation of the five main personality factors: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Friendliness, and Responsibility.
The pillars of personality
The five-factor model of personality traits was an important novelty in personality research, and the results obtained through tests based on it gave rise to new ways of understanding in personality theories.
These theories gave the main importance to the traits that make up a particular personality typology and also deal with the influence of the social and cultural environment in the evolution of the structure of the traits that define us as unique individuals.
On the other hand, to measure the degree of anxiety, the most widely used instrument is the STAI questionnaire (Spielberger, Gorsuch & Lushene, 2011).
This test assesses two independent concepts of anxiety and consists of two sections, 20 questions each. The first analyzes anxiety as a state (A / E) and the second analyzes anxiety as a trait (A / R). A scale is completed with four response options for each question. The results give us information on two independent concepts of anxiety.
The first is defined as a state of transitory emotional anxiety (A / E) and that depends on the circumstances of the moment in which the test is performed. The second gives us the data of a stable trait (A / R) and that characterizes individuals with a tendency to perceive situations as threatening to a greater or lesser extent.
The influence of personality on coping styles
The first trait evaluated by the NEO-PIR is Neuroticism, and it defines this concept as the innate tendency to manifest emotional stability or instability. Numerous investigations have studied the relationship between our personality traits and the levels of anxiety experienced. The correlations found between the Neuroticism factor and trait and state anxiety indicate that high levels in the Neuroticism factor and its corresponding facets correspond to high scores in trait and state anxiety.
People with a high neuroticism trait will use emotion-focused coping to resolve stressful situations, which in the long run can lead to exhaustion as a result of continuous emotional exhaustion and appear manifested in both physical problems (infections, fatigue, pain …) as in psychological problems (decay, apathy, fear, doubts …).
Other personality traits that we are interested in knowing before undergoing therapy are Kindness and Extroversion. These personality characteristics assess the traits of interpersonal tendencies. High scores on these factors define an affectionate, energetic, and positive personality for interpersonal relationships.
Responsibility and Openness to experience, the other two characteristics that complete the “big five”, define the tendency to focus on achieving our goals and open-mindedness respectively.