Do who you are

puzzle-2778019__340

 

Career counselors have long advised clients they will be happier if they can find a job that matches their personality. A new study suggests they will earn more money too.

Lead researcher Jaap J. A. Denissen of Tilburg University examined nearly 8500 Germans in terms of the “Big Five” personality traits: openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extroversion agreeableness, and neuroticism. Then two independent psychologists looked at each of the participant’s job with respect to those same characteristics to determine what level of each characteristic made for an ideal employee in that particular job. Not surprisingly, bookkeepers require the least amount of extroversion.

When it comes to extroversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, a closer match between an employee’s own personality and a job’s demands was linked with higher income. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. For example, an employee who is more agreeable than the job calls for will earn less than someone who is less agreeable.

Findings from previous research have indicated that some personality traits such as being conscientious are generally beneficial when it comes to any work environment. It appears that is not exactly true. They found that highly conscientious people whose jobs didn’t demand it earned less than their less fastidious peers.

The takeaway is that one size, one set of universal personality characteristics, doesn’t fit all. No two jobs are created equal.

Advertisements

I want to be alone

greta-garbo-398405__340

 

What a relief! A new study indicates social withdrawal isn’t always a bad thing.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo looked at the motivation behind the desire to be alone. They cite three reasons why people avoid others. One is plain old shyness because of fear or anxiety. A second is avoidance, dislike of being with others or social interaction.

The third, however, is that some people just like spending time reading or working on their computers. They call this unsociability. Can I hear an amen from the introverts of the world?

That third category of people may not initiate social opportunities but will accept them if offered, so they are not totally missing out on peer interaction.

The first two categories result in negative outcomes like lack of social skills or support. The third is positively correlated with creativity. This gives me great comfort.

So, if you are like me and really would prefer to keep your distance most of the time, go ahead. Embrace your solitude. You know you want to.

 

 

.

Go nuts

pistachio-1098173__340

 

While nuts have already been known to prevent or fight diseases below the neck such as  heart disease and cancer, new research shows they also help our brains. A study done at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center examined the results of eating six different kinds of nuts.

Pistachios ranked highest in gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, perception and rapid eye movement during sleep.

In contrast, peanuts produced the highest delta response, which is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and deep sleep.

Walnuts had the highest concentration of antioxidants.

Almonds, cashews, and pecans presumably fell lower on the benefits scale.

So, I guess the takeaway here is pick your nuts carefully. For better memory, try pistachios. For better sleep, try peanuts.

 

 

Nip mental health problems in the bud

back-to-school-953250__340

 

A new assessment may help get mental health help to students. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia developed a student version of the Social, Academic and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener (SAEBRS). They had middle and high school students complete the instrument to self-identify their mental state.

The student version is available through Fastbridge Learning, a software company that works with schools to offer online academic and behavioral screening, as well as other assessment services.

In lower grades, students have only one teacher, so it is easier to see problems developing. In higher grades, students have different teachers for each different subject, so changes in behavior can’t be observed as readily. While families may not have the resources to access preventative services, schools usually do.

I can see a few problems with this approach. Will the students answer the questions honestly? And if they do, will this somehow stigmatize them in the eyes of teachers and administrators?

Still, if even one potential tragedy is avoided, this seems worthwhile to me.

Let’s get physical

walk-2635038__340

 

Given the mental health crisis in the US, it seems to me that any and all avenues that can alleviate people’s problems should be acted upon. Right now.

A study  done at Michigan State University asked patients with depression about physical exercise. A whopping 85% said they wanted to exercise more, and nearly that many said they believed exercise improved their moods much of the time. About half were at least interested in a one time discussion with many wanting ongoing advice about physical activity from their mental health provider.

The hitch is that most psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners don’t have expertise in exercise. They may mention it, but they don’t help the client set up a program or keep after them to be active. Marcia Valenstein, senior author and professor emeritus in psychiatry at U-M, suggests mental health clinics partner with personal trainers or community recreational facilities. She says once the effectiveness was established, maybe insurers would get on board.

But why wait? Surely even individual counselors and therapists can find a trainer or nearby YMCA to work with clients without charging prohibitive fees. How much is it costing society NOT to do this?

Conversing over cocktails

drinks-2578446__340

Once upon a time, I took several semesters of noncredit Spanish classes. I did OK in reading, but in situations where I needed to speak to someone in Spanish I froze up. Maybe I should’ve had a cocktail first.

A study by the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King’s College London found that people who drank a small amount of alcohol were judged to have better pronunciation in a foreign language. Alcohol impairs executive function including the ability to remember things, so it should hamper speaking a second language. But it also lessens social anxiety.

Interestingly, in this study, outside observers rated those who had consumed a low dose of alcohol significantly better speakers than the control group who had non-alcoholic beverages . The actual participants did not rate themselves higher.

So if you try this at home, stick to only one drink and don’t judge yourself. You’re conversing better than you think.